U.S. JUNIOR AMATEUR
Ex-NHL Goalie Pang Caddies for Nephew Bryson
July 19, 2016 | Ooltewah, Tenn.
By David Shefter, USGA
Darren Pang traded in a microphone for a golf bag this week at The Honors Course. The former National Hockey League goaltender – he spent three seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1980s before retiring after tearing his ACL in 1989 – and current St. Louis Blues television analyst for Fox Sports Midwest was invited by his nephew, Jake Bryson, to caddie in the 69th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at The Honors Course.
While the duo didn’t get the desired results – Bryson posted rounds of 82-84 to miss the match-play cut – they enjoyed some quality time on the challenging Pete Dye layout.
The two have played a ton of golf together in their hometown of Ottawa, Canada, dating back to when Bryson was 6 years old. Although he lives in St. Louis, where he plays out of Meadowbrook Country Club, Pang does get together with his family a few times a year.
Pang’s son, Tyler, is an assistant professional at Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis, the site where the Olympic golf competition was held in 1904, the last time the game was contested in the Summer Games until next month’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Now a 16-year-old rising high school senior, Bryson was competing in his first USGA championship after earning medalist honors in the Baldwinsville, N.Y., sectional qualifier on June 20. Pang was not on the bag for the 36-hole event, but he did caddie for Bryson recently, when he qualified for next month’s Canadian Amateur.
“It was a great experience for him to be in front of this many people,” said Pang, 52, who is entering his 27th year in broadcasting. “I think he learned a lot about his swing and putting on fast greens.”
Despite his disappointing scores, Bryson didn’t leave Tennessee too upset. If anything, a few more college coaches know him and the experience against elite competition was invaluable, not to mention the family bonding time.
“I was really lucky to have him on the greens and to keep me in good spirits,” said Bryson of Pang. “We had a great time. I am very privileged.
“This experience makes me want to practice harder and get better and better. I was just a little bit off in a few areas.”
Pang doesn’t know if he’ll be asked to be on Bryson’s bag for the upcoming Canadian Amateur. He often takes a caddie when playing at home, but actually doing it was a bit more challenging.
“Now I really appreciate and understand how hard that is,” said Pang. “It’s not that easy, especially in the heat like this. It’s hard to keep with the pace.”
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.