Shinko Katayama’s “First Caddie in 34 Years” Reputation and Reminiscent of the “Scandals | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shinko Katayama’s “First Caddie in 34 Years” Reputation and Reminiscent of the “Scandals

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Popular pro Reika Usui (left) is riding high after her first win of the season. But the caddie who stands out even more is ……

A man with sunglasses and a stubble beard stands out from the crowd on the greens of the “Earth Mondamin Cup,” a women’s golf tournament being held from June 20 to 23. Among the glamorous female players, the man who stands out from the crowd is Shinkure Katayama (51), a male professional golfer.

Some may wonder why a male pro is participating in the women’s tour (……), but Katayama is, of course, not a player, but a caddie. He was supporting Reika Usui (25), a member of the “Golden Generation” who is riding high after her first win on the tour at the AXARE Ladies in March this year.

Katayama is a perennial seeded player with 31 wins on tour, and is famous for her fourth place finish in the 2009 Masters, a major U.S. golf tournament. He continues to play on both the domestic and senior tours, and this year he just won his first senior championship at the “Sumaida Cup” (May 30-June 1).

Usui and Katayama’s first win on tour this season was one of the topics of conversation during the tournament, as the two met in Miyazaki five or six years ago and had verbally promised each other that they would caddie for each other if they won the tournament. Usui also used to watch him practice from time to time.

It had been 34 years since Katayama had caddied for him at the “Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Pacific Masters” on the men’s tour in 1990. He was 17 years old in his senior year of high school when he carried the bag for Shoji Ozaki, aka “Jumbo Ozaki.

Perhaps with the support of his caddie Katayama, Usui got off to a good start with a 69 on the first day. On the second day, he shot a dismal 76, but still managed to qualify. This was the first time in four years that Usui had qualified for this tournament, which he had been struggling with. Usui attributes his success to Katayama’s advice.

He said, “He only said positive things. If I said, ‘It’s hard to stand up here,’ he would tell me, ‘Don’t worry, it’s just like rock-paper-scissors odds, so don’t worry about it too much. He advised me to use the course widely, so it was very easy to get around. I feel nervous that I have to respond to his advice.

Katayama said, “I was happy that he hit the ball the way I wanted to. I enjoyed playing with him.

Although the two of them are such a smiling couple, when I think of Katayama, I can’t help but remember the scandal of 2006. At the Japan Golf Tour Championship Mori Building Cup, a major men’s tour event held in May of the same year, a guest who played with Katayama in the pro-am event on the day before the competition left after playing only one hole because he was displeased with Katayama’s behavior, speech, and treatment of the guest.

It was then revealed that he started practicing putting on the green on the first hole even though the guest was still playing, and started practicing again after holing out. It was also revealed that when a guest was called to come to the tee ground to move on to the next hole, he made a statement to the effect that the group in front of him was playing and did not play immediately.

The guest was not satisfied with this behavior and left the scene, claiming that he lacked consideration for his fellow players.

The Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO), which considered the behavior at the pro-am event problematic, held a press conference in Katayama’s presence and decided to impose a “fine of 300,000 yen and a strict warning. Isao Aoki, then chairman of the JGTO, and Ryo Ishikawa, who was serving as players’ chairman, bowed their heads and apologized on the spot. Ishikawa said, “We, the players’ association, and the JGTO, had just begun to work together to reform the tour so that fans and sponsors would support us, and it is regrettable that this situation has occurred.

Since practice days for tournaments are set aside, the Pro-Am tournament exists as an opportunity for professional golfers to “entertain” their invited guests. It costs a lot of money to organize the tournament, and one of the major tasks of the tournament organizers, who are the main sponsors, is to invite the people from the companies that have been taking care of them on a daily basis to this Pro-Am tournament.

I believe that there are still amateur golfers who think that they are happy just to be able to play with the pros, but that does not mean that the pros should behave in an arrogant manner. I feel that the spirit of “Omotenashi” is one of the qualities that a top pro should have, without being arrogant.

Of course, such problems have not come to the forefront on the current men’s tour since Katayama’s scandal. What I am wondering, however, is what Katayama felt when he carried Usui’s bag at the pro-am tournament held before the “Earth Mondamin Cup” as well. Perhaps there was something to be learned from the hospitality of women’s tour players toward their invited guests.

Of course, as Usui’s right-hand man this week, his primary goal is to help Usui get into contention for the championship, but it will be interesting to see how Katayama perceives the recent excitement and popularity of the women’s tour on the field.

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