“Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” a new feature-length film documentary, has shined a brighter light this summer on the multi-faceted service that caddies provide to make golf more of a team game.
-- Ward Clayton
"There is a new documentary out in 100 cities this weekend, called Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk, narrated by Bill Murray. I'm hearing sensational stuff about that," Jim Nantz, the longtime voice of CBS Golf, said on Saturday, June 8, during the third-round broadcast of the RBC Canadian Open on CBS, the day after the film opened nationally in theaters.
The film focuses on the famous players and caddies and also the unknowns who work at private and resort courses, particularly the roles of psychiatrist, best buddy, father or mother figure and mathematician, etc., they play during the course of a round with a player to a make the day more fulfilling.
Loopers was included on the United States film festival circuit in February 2019 and has drawn critical acclaim with positive reviews and best documentary awards from the Cleveland International Film Festival in early April and the Newport Beach (CA) Film Festival in early May before a five-week theatrical run, beginning June 7, that included 30 states and more than 100 theaters. The film’s international debut occurred on June 21 at the Edinburgh (Scotland) International Film Festival, where it received a “Best of the Fest” honor prior to a July 23 release in 70-plus theaters across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Bill Murray plays the caddie role
Loopers is narrated by actor and former caddie Bill Murray, who starred in the 1980 comedy “Caddyshack,” which was written by his brother Brian Doyle-Murray. The six Murray brothers grew up caddying at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Illinois because “we didn’t have a cow to milk, so our father said go caddie,” Murray said years ago. Murray’s narration is positioned much like a good caddie’s call with a player – understated and letting the player take the lead instead of stepping forward.
'I think people are going to gain a great respect out of this film for caddies in watching this,” Ben Crenshaw, a two-time Masters Tournament champion with longtime loopers Carl Jackson on his bag, said on his Sirius XM Radio show, Crenshaw on Golf, in early June. “Let's get one thing straight, Bill Murray has a great love for golf. Caddying and players, especially in golf's history, have been part and parcel in the game."
The non-golf factor
Perhaps the most interesting reaction to Loopers has been its connection to non-golfers. At multiple showings, by a show of hands, there have been numerous attendees who identified themselves as not interested in golf but were drawn by the relationships developed between people of different backgrounds.
“I’ve only played a handful of rounds of golf in my life, and I don’t particularly care about the sport,” Andy Howell wrote for Film Threat in February. “Still, I found ‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ compelling. Any time you get somebody talking about their life’s work you’re probably going to get some good stories.”
The big picture
“Loopers” was filmed at some of the more iconic locations in golf such as The Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, numerous other vaunted courses in Scotland and Ireland such as Carnoustie, Prestwick, Ballybunion and Lahinch, the Augusta (GA) National Golf Club, Pebble Beach (CA) Golf Links and Bandon Dunes (OR).
The film also includes interviews with World Golf Hall of Famers Sir Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Trevino, Curtis Strange and former Masters Tournament and U.S. Open champion Fuzzy Zoeller. Professional caddies who participated include Steve Williams (Tiger Woods’ former caddie), Carl Jackson (Crenshaw), Fanny Sunesson (Faldo), Pete Bender (Greg Norman and others), Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and Jariah “Jerry” Beard (Zoeller at the 1979 Masters). Longtime golf journalists Rick Reilly, Michael Collins and Ward Clayton are also interviewed.
“Loopers” is directed by Southern California filmmaker Jason Baffa, who has directed successful independent films on the global surfing sub-culture. Baffa’s first film on golf harkens back to his days growing up when he played golf with his father and uncle.
If you missed the film in theaters, don’t worry. Private viewings for clubs or organizations can be made by going to www.loopersmovie.com/request-a-screening. Also, the film is available for pre-order on DVD and 4K digital download, shipping September 3. Go to www.loopersmovie.com/see-the-movie for more information.
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