It’s not often the case that a caddie walks away with the biggest prize of the week, but for SA Open champion Chris Paisley of England his wife Keri might just claim the full R2.4m winners cheque the pair collected at Glendower Golf Club, in Johannesburg, on Sunday.
Paisley decided at the last minute to play in the SA Open, and it meant his regular caddie Sean Russell was not available so the 31-year-old decided to have his wife carry the bag for the week. The combination turned out to perfection, as Paisley fired rounds of 66 65 70 and 66 to finish on 21-under, three ahead of heavy home-town favourite Branden Grace.
“You see guys walking up the fairways on 18 every week with the win in the bag, and I was never quite sure I’d get to do it. To walk up there with Keri my wife knowing we won the tournament was special. She’ll probably get 100 percent of the cheque to be honest,” said Paisley afterwards.
“I wasn’t going to play this week initially, I was going to go straight to Abu Dhabi so I told my caddie that and he booked a holiday. Then I decided to play and told him not to worry as I’ll get Keri on the bag. She caddied for me a few times in amateur golf. She doesn’t play golf but she knows her way around a golf course. She’s travelled with me the last two-and-a-half years. It was almost a bit of a warmup week in a way, but I felt good about my game. Keri was telling me in the weeks leading up to this that I was going to win. I don’t know if she actually believed it, but she wanted the one week she caddied for me to do well.”
The performance of the Newcastle golfer belied his status on tour as he collected his maiden European Tour victory. He also completed a hat-trick of wins in the SA Open in the last four years for England with Andy Sullivan winning in 2015 and Graeme Storm triumphing last year.
Keri, Chris Paisley said, provided a calming influence all week.
“She doesn’t know that much about golf but she knows me really well and she knows when I’m going a little quicker than I usually do or getting a bit tight. It was quite a lot of the time and she would just stop me and tell me to slow down, have a drink of water.
“I’m just so happy with how the week went and to get the win, for not only myself and Keri, but for everyone that’s stood behind me. My family, my mum and dad, my brothers, my coaches that I’ve been with for a long time, Callaway for sticking with me – you know I’m not exactly a superstar name – but they stood by me for the last five years. I’ve had 12 new Callaway clubs in the bag this week and the new ball, so it’s just amazing. For myself it’s great but for all the hard work that everyone else had done around me, it’s amazing.”
Keri was suitably proud of her husband after his breakthrough win.
“It was just surreal, I’m just so proud of him and so happy to be by his side,” said Keri.