Erik van Rooyen will have a new caddie on the bag with him this week at TPC Twin Cities, though it’s for a good reason.
And, his normal caddie will be nearby.
Van Rooyen revealed on Twitter on Monday night that his usual caddie, Alex Gaugert, earned a spot in the field at this week’s 3M Open in Minnesota after the Monday qualifier.
When tee times were announced Tuesday, van Rooyen then learned that tournament officials had paired the two together, along with Ryan Moore, for the first two rounds.
Gaugert had a wild ride to even get to the Monday qualifier.
Van Rooyen and Gaugert were at the Barracuda Championship in California on Sunday afternoon, and the two didn’t fly out until 8 p.m. local time that night. Their connecting flight to Minneapolis from Seattle was later delayed, and didn’t end up leaving until about 3 a.m..
Thankfully, Gaugert is a Minneapolis-area native. So when he landed, he quickly ran home, changed and got to the course about 40 minutes before his scheduled tee time. So he hit 15 balls, and off he went.
That was apparently enough to get him into a playoff, where he shot a 6-under 65 and earned a spot in the field this week.
Gaugert and Van Rooyen played together collegiately at Minnesota, and Gaugert has been on the bag for the South African for years. This, however, will mark Gaugert’s first career PGA Tour event.
Van Rooyen, 33, has one career win on the PGA Tour. He won the Barracuda Championship in 2021. He has three top-10 finishes so far this season, including a T6 finish last week in California, though he’s missed the cut in seven of his last nine starts. Van Rooyen enters this week ranked No. 127 in the FedExCup standings. Only the top 70 after next week’s Wyndham Championship make the cut for the first of three FedExCup playoffs events.
Though there’s a lot on the line for both of them this week, there’s probably no better place or pairing for Gaugert to make his Tour debut.