The first to burst into tears was not the champion. When the error in putt by Will Zalatoris on the 18th hole made the playoff impossible and made Matt Fitzpatrick the winner of the US Open, the baby-faced young Englishman looked to his right. Tears were already moistening her eyes. caddie, Billy Foster, who covered his face with his cap. In that cry was not only the happiness for the first great of his boss, Fitzpatrick, but the emotion of an unexpected reward for a whole career. For Foster it was also his first Grand Slam title, the culmination of his 58 years of silent career in which he has led the bag of clubs to Severiano Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Sergio García, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Thomas Björn.
“It is a very special moment to win my first major after 40 years. I think the great man was looking down”, Foster told Movistar Golf pointing to the clouds of Brookline. This is how the Englishman remembered Seve, for whom he worked between 1990 and 1995, when the Cantabrian had already celebrated his five majors (British Open in 1979, 84 and 88, and Masters in 1980 and 83).
It was a very intense relationship, how could it be otherwise with the genius of Pedreña. Foster keeps a framed typewritten letter that he received at his parents’ house at the end of 1990. In it, the Spaniard stressed the “conditions” that accepting the job of carrying his bag of clubs and accompanying him on trips, training sessions and rounds of competition. Since it was not an easy task, it was better to make the requirements very clear. The first rule that Foster had to accept had to do not with the game, but with the environment: no talking to the press. According to Seve, this created “problems and confusion”. Then he already got into his character. Ballesteros, then 33 years old, made him see that he was a “perfectionist”, and that he demanded the maximum just as he demanded it of himself. Foster accepted the offer and lived unforgettable years with Seve. Today he remembers him as the player with the most charisma with whom he worked, along with Tiger Woods. He had a sporadic relationship with the legendary golfer, only for the 2005 Presidents Cup, since the caddie Tiger’s Steve Williams was on paternity leave. Foster was the chosen one and added another card to his brilliant collection of bosses.
“For Billy this great means the world,” said Fitzpatrick, 27, after victory this Sunday at the US Open. “I know it’s something he’s wanted for a long, long, long time. When we started working together, he had just split up with Lee [Westwood]. He told me that he was going to be with me for 25 weeks and that he would combine it with other players. I think in four years he has had two weeks off. With him I have learned to have more patience”. As celebrated in the golf world was the triumph of the young Fitzpatrick as that of the veteran Foster. “You are now a legend,” Nick Faldo wrote. Caddie and player are already looking at Saint Andrews, venue in July of the 150th edition of the British Open, where Seve fueled his myth with that victory in 1984 and the iconic image that photographer David Cannon captured as he holed the putt decisive.
Amid the US Open celebrations, Foster walked into the center of the arena in tears. green. There he kissed the red flag of the 18th, a symbol of respect towards the game that he recalled to the reverence of the caddie of Matsuyama when the Japanese won the 2021 Masters. It is those gestures that make this sport great. Then Foster glanced up at the sky again, waiting for Seve’s smile.
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