Caddies are usually well trained to help the players who employ them on the golf course, but the caddie of LPGA Tour member Lexi Thompson did way more than save her strokes during a recent tournament.
Going beyond the call of duty — and probably any sort of caddie training he might have had — Benji Thompson went through great lengths to retrieve Lexi Thompson’s passport after she left it behind, according to The Caddie Network.
Benji and Lexi Thompson are not related.
The entire situation also ended up costing 38 golfers a practice round at this week’s Women’s British Open in England.
But as far retrieving her passport, that part of the story at least had a happy ending.
Benji Thompson said the saga began following last week’s Evian Championship in France when Lexi Thompson sent a text message to him around 9 p.m. Sunday following the tournament’s final round.
“Dude, we might not get outta here,” Lexi Thompson reportedly texted to him.
Lexi Thompson and 37 other golfers were scheduled to have their golf bags driven (with a ferry ride included) from the Evian tournament to England for the Women’s British Open, all while Lexi Thompson and Benji Thompson planned to get there flying out of Geneva, Switzerland, which is less than an hour from where the Evian tournament was held.
Chaos ensued when Lexi Thompson realized she left her passport in her golf bag that was in the van driven by Ian Wright, a former caddie for the late great golfer Seve Ballesteros.
Lexi Thompson’s dad somehow had Wright’s number, got in touch with him and told Lexi and Benji Thompson that Wright was in the van about an hour south of the Geneva airport.
Benji Thompson had a 5:15 a.m. shuttle for a 7:20 a.m. flight, but after making sure the hotel “took American Express,” he and a cab driver set out for a journey to meet up with Wright’s van at around 10:45 p.m.
The drive hit a snag about 3 miles from the van when Benji Thompson saw on his GPS that they needed to go right, but the cab driver, who also had a GPS, insisted they go left.
Benji Thompson was correct all along and the driver went the wrong way for 20 minutes before finally turning around and meeting up with the van at a gas station. Phew!
There was more work to do, however.
The 38 golf bags were jammed tightly into the van, so Thompson had to pull them out until he found Lexi Thompson’s bag near the bottom (Murphy’s Law, isn’t it?).
Benji Thompson found the passport but then had to begin the arduous task of fitting all the golf bags back in the van.
“That van was packed to the hilt,” Wright told the Golf Channel. “A mouse couldn’t have found room to live in there.”
Once he did, Benji Thompson and the cab driver headed back to the hotel, arriving with the passport about 1 a.m.
It cost Lexi Thompson $300 for the cab fare and caused Wright to arrive in England with the golf bags six hours later than scheduled on Monday, and Lexi Thompson since apologized to the other golfers who couldn’t get in a practice round that day because their bags arrived late.
But alas, Lexi Thompson is ready to compete for the Women’s British Open title this weekend, thanks to her caddy that saved her more than just strokes on the course.
“I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep and my only thought was a caddie was, ‘My player needs me and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the job done,’” Benji Thompson said.