Why the US Open winner’s caddy burst into tears

Billy Foster grabbed the flag on the 18th green, pulled it to his face and kissed it.

Finally, that flag is his.

After four decades of caddying for some of the biggest in the game, Foster has his big title.

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Matt Fitzpatrick wins US Open also marked a breakthrough for one of the most popular loopers in the game. Foster has worn for the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn – even once for Tiger Woods at the Presidents Cup – but was never looking for a big winner.

“Usually people have monkeys on their backs. I had a gorilla on my back,” Foster said.

“I can’t even think of being excited. It was just ‘pffffff’. What a relief.”

He gets a nice part of the winner’s check. Winning caddies also traditionally bring home the flag on the 18th green.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to Billy. It’s unbelievable,” said Fitzpatrick.

“I know it’s something he’s wanted for a long time. To do it today is incredible.”

Foster came close last month when Fitzpatrick took fifth place in the PGA Championship.

Some of his other close calls included Westwood’s three-shot loss to Phil Mickelson at the Masters in 2010 and Westwood’s three-putt at Turnberry the year before to take one shot out of the playoff between Tom Watson and Stewart Cink.

Foster was out for Bjorn at Royal St George’s when it took Bjorn three shots to get out of a bunker on the 70th hole in 2003. Bjorn lost to Ben Curtis by one.

Foster and Fitzpatrick hooked up shortly after the caddy and Westwood split in 2018.

“He kept telling me the first time at work, I’m just doing 25 weeks and maybe I’ll get a replacement for the others,” Fitzpatrick said.

“I think he’s had about two weeks off in four years.”

Nursing this week – actually all year – hasn’t involved too much hard work. Fitzpatrick plays great golf.

Painful putt on US Open misses centimeters

He hit 17 greens in the fourth round in his one-shot win over Will Zalatoris. The US Open was the second consecutive major in which Fitzpatrick and Foster were part of the final couple of the day.

One of their few disagreements this week was about how to approach the 18th tee box. With a one-shot lead en route to the final hole, Fitzpatrick finally gave in and followed Foster’s advice: hit the 3 woods Foster wanted, not the driver he preferred.

Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick jerked the 3-wood into a bunker to the left of the fairway to make the biggest shot of the tournament.

“And once it’s in the air and turning to the bunker, I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I just say hit the driver,'” Foster said.

From there, Foster and Fitzpatrick could only see the left side of the green.

“I was just trying to find a spot by the tree, and it cut it off the tree and it was a beautiful wave,” Foster said.

Two putts later, Fitzpatrick had his par. When Zalatoris barely missed a putt to tie, Foster kissed the flag.

“First of all, it was a relief,” Foster said.

“But tonight and next week I think I’m going to have a liver like a football. Tonight and all through next week there will be a big party.”

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