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New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton spending his downtime caddying for PGA golfer

Frank Schwab
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(USA Today Sports Images)

Coaches don't get much vacation time, so they need to make the most of it. For New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, caddying for PGA Tour golfer Ryan Palmer at this week's Greenbrier Classic is his version of R&R.

Payton had some time before Saints training camp begins on July 25, so he is carrying Palmer's clubs around for this tournament, which is totally normal for a coach who has won a Super Bowl.

"What started as a plan of vacationing here at the Greenbrier for a week, after two days I've quickly realized, this isn't a vacation," Payton said in a PGA Tour transcript, which was posted on the Saints website. "But I'm excited about it."

Payton didn't just show up at the course looking to caddie for someone and earn a few bucks during his summer vacation. He has known Palmer for a while, going back to Payton's days as an assistant with the Cowboys.

Payton said the two stay in touch, Palmer usually takes in a Saints game once or twice a season and the two find time to play golf in the summer. The idea of Payton caddying for Palmer came up over a dinner Payton had with James Edmondson, Palmer's normal caddie and one of Payton's friends.

What makes Payton's cameo this week even funnier is that the Saints coach is admittedly bad at golf.

"I'm not very good," Payton said. I really enjoy playing and enjoy practicing, maybe the range just as much as playing just as a release that it provides ... as a hobby, we don't have many hobbies, at least I don't have many, but that's something that's somewhat relaxing."

Palmer said the other caddies are excited, and one texted him to make sure Payton knew where the caddie dining room is and hoped Payton was staying at a nearby Quality Inn hotel like the other caddies. Because, it's not every day as a caddie that a famous NFL coach is the fellow caddie you're walking the course with.

It didn't take Payton's competitive nature long to kick in, and he serious about helping Palmer, who is No. 84 in the World Golf Ranking, bring home the tournament.

"I understand and completely appreciate that this is game week, and I know what game week feels like for me in the fall and I know what it will feel like for him and what it does feel like for all these golfers," Payton said. "Just to be invisible as a caddie and do your job and be supportive, those are the things that I look at as being important for me this week."

"Just shut up and keep up, that's it," Palmer said.

"That's right," Payton said.

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