Canadian Caddie Duplantis Dies

Canadian Steve Duplantis, best known for guiding Rich Beem and [photopress:duplantis.jpg,full,alignright]Jim Furyk around the course, was killed last night when he was hit by a car, according to media reports. He was 35.

He was caddying for Eric Axley this week at the Buick Invitational this week. According to reports, Duplantis stepped off a median and was struck by a taxi.

I first encountered Duplantis when he was writing for Ontario Golf editor Ted McIntyre. Duplantis was from Brampton and rose to some prominence when he took Rich Beem from hawking cell phones to a PGA Tour title at the Kemper Open.

But Duplantis loved the wild life, something that was presented in detail in Alan Shipnuck’s book “Bud, Sweat and Tees: A Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour.” The book was highly entertaining and focused on Duplantis’ outlandish behaviour and his inability to hold down a longtime gig with any one player. Frequently late for his job, he spent the last few years bouncing from player to player, including a stint on the LPGA Tour, as well as working with Daniel Chopra and Tommy Armour III.

Despite his often challenging lifestyle, he always brought the best out in his players — Armour carded a scoring record with Duplantis on the bag, and Beem won.

USA Today said the mood around the Buick was sober this morning:

The mood was somber on the putting green, where some caddies were waiting on their players.

“He was a throwback,” caddie Patrick Smith said. “He raised the level of every player he worked for. He could take guys who were marginal and they would play well.”

Duplantis and his nightlife exploits were prominently featured in a book titled, Bud, Sweat and Tees, a story primarily about Beem.

“Regardless of his reputation, he was a great caddie and didn’t have a bad bone in him,” caddie Mark Chaney said.

But Armour said he was always concerned Duplantis’ lifestyle would lead to a bad conclusion:

Armour, however, feared Duplantis’ nightlife would land him in trouble.

Am I shocked by this? No, Armour said. I tried several times to get him some help. And I told him in 2003, ‘Bud, if you don’t change, you’re going to die a tragic death.

Interestingly, I replaced Duplantis as “The Insider” columnist at Ontario Golf magazine. Ted McIntyre, who knew Duplantis well, blogs on the caddie here.

UPDATE: Shipnuck has written a touching warts-and-all column on Duplantis for Golf Magazine. Read it here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • met him when i pick him off the floor of a bar 1 night and then drove him to his hotel the next 4 late nights so that i hoped he’d make his morning tee times for the PGA . that being said, he was a great guy/father and will be dearly missed R.I.P STEVO you were the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robert,

    I don’t understand why you would feel the need to emphazie Steve’s after hours exploits at this time. A young girl has just lost her father and a family has lost their son.

    Emphasizing someone’s self admitted personal struggles before they have even been laid to rest truly lacks class. Regardless of your personal opinion on a person’s lifestyle, now is not the time to highlight it.

    Steve should be remembered as a colourful Canadian, who lived his life on his own terms and viewed the golf world from inside the ropes.

    My thoughts, along with countless other Canadians are with his young daughter and bereaved family.

  • Don’t get me wrong — I feel for his daughter as well. I’m a parent with young kids, and given the uncertainties around his daughter prior to this, Steve’s death can only complicate what was already a difficult situation. His death is surely unfortunate, and by all accounts Duplantis was a great character. I’m not trying to suggest otherwise.

    But why do we all feel the need to build up some false impression of someone after they die? I didn’t say anything that wasn’t well known about Steve — he was a public figure and every article written on him after his death has mentioned many of the same elements. Are Armour’s remarks a bit jarring? Sure. But that doesn’t make them less accurate.

    I think if you read between the lines of what Armour said, you’ll get the impression that he thinks Steve’s lifestyle led to this unfortunate accident. I have no idea if that’s in fact the case — but that is how it appears from his comments.

  • True enough,

    Unfortunately Steve appears to have enjoyed the nightlife to an extent that gained him the wrong kind of notoriety. By all accounts he was a great person who wasn’t quite able to shake some of his demons and short-comings.

    Once again, one of life’s great lessons can be learned here. Everything you value, know, and “underestimate” can be taken from you in the blink of an eye.

    Never take that for granted.


  • “I don’t understand why you would feel the need to emphazie Steve’s after hours exploits at this time.”

    I disagree that they were emphasised. Robert simply presented the full facts. That’s what journalists should do, present the full picture, whatever their personal view of it may be.

    If you don’t like it, I can recommend Fox News.

  • maybe you should chill out on all this talk about what is proper to say and what is not…the first commment fit properly and was very accurate. thats the end of it

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