THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Sunday, July 14, 1996 TAG: 9607140190 SECTION: SPORTS PAGE: C3 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY JIM DUCIBELLA, STAFF WRITER DATELINE: WILLIAMSBURG LENGTH: 66 lines
So, Rex Caldwell, what's it going to take for you to come from six shots behind Scott Hoch and win the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill?
``Scott to break his leg,'' Caldwell replied at the start of what became a 30-minute monologue Jeff Foxworthy might want to look into copying.
``I'm just happy to be here,'' he continued after firing a third-round 68 for a total of 204, a half-dozen shots behind Hoch. ``Let's face it, boys, I ain't going to win this tournament. I'd have to shoot 64 and I don't have a lot of 64s in my bag.
``Something screwy's going to have to happen.''
It already has. Caldwell, who has had three seasons in which his earnings are listed as ``0'' because he was in self-imposed retirement, is in contention to make a paycheck today that could exceed his last six seasons on tour combined.
``That would be nice,'' he said. ``I'm looking for a sponsor. Mine died last year. I've played in eight events this year, made the cut in six. But I can't afford to play at too many places because I'm not exempt.
``A couple of weeks ago, they called me to come play Hartford. But it was Tuesday and when I called the airlines, it was going to cost me $1,200. I can't afford that. I live month-to-month, like all Americans. Now, if I could get a sponsor, my life would get real easy.''
Caldwell has a lifetime exemption on the Nike Tour but rarely plays ``because they make the greens too hard. It's like hitting sand wedges onto concrete. I know they think they're helping prepare these kids for the Tour, but they're not. I got burned out on the thing.''
A few years ago, Caldwell, who lives in San Antonio, tried the Texas Tour. He played in 22 tournaments, winning 13.
``And I never had to pick up a club in between tournaments,'' he said. ``I wound up the leading money-winner and I never practiced. I thought, `Man, this is for me,' but it didn't pay anything.''
More recently, Caldwell has tried to Mexican Tour. The total purse is about $40,000 a week, most of which has gone to Caldwell.
``There's not a lot of competition, just a lot of kids learning to play the game,'' Caldwell said.
Ask him if he enjoys playing south of the border and he shrugs.
``I can't understand a word they say,'' he replies. ``They all speak Mexican. I've got this friend from Vera Cruz who travels with me. The guy has to talk 24 hours a day, because I don't understand them and they don't understand me and he has to sit at a table and translate for both of us.''
Caldwell isn't one to turn his back on a good angle. Forty-six years old now, he's thinking of moving to Japan at age 49 because he'll meet their age-50 requirement a year ahead of schedule. In Japan, a person is 1 year old from the day he's born.
``Right now, I'm just looking for a place to play and a sponsor to get me to 50,'' Caldwell said.
The only thing missing that would make this week even better for Caldwell is wife JoAnn. She's back in San Antonio, minding the family saloon, The Pretty Woman.
``Customers there named it for her,'' Caldwell said. ``From personality to looks, she's a 10. The best woman I've ever known. Those three years I quit golf, I could play or not play, because of her. I spent a lot of time chasing her around the house. And she let me catch her, a lot.'' ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MIKE HEFFNER/The Virginian-Pilot
``Let's face it, boys, I ain't going to win this tournament. I'd
have to shoot 64 and I don't have a lot of 64s in my bag,'' Rex
Caldwell quips. by CNB