Danny Noonan at the US Open
‘Caddyshack’ star Michael O’Keefe will caddie at 2020 US Open
September 9, 2020 | 7:54pm
Danny Noonan is going to caddie at the U.S. Open next week.
Well, kind of.
Michael O’Keefe — the actor who played Danny Noonan, the young, impressionable caddie in “Caddyshack’’ — will carry a bag on Monday and Tuesday in practice rounds at the U.S. Open, The Post has learned.
He won’t be on the bag for Ty Webb — aka Chevy Chase. Danny Balin will have to do.
And it won’t be at Bushwood Country Club. Winged Foot will have to do.
Danny will be caddying for Danny — Danny Balin, a 17-year Westchester resident who’s the head pro at Fresh Meadow Country Club on Long Island.
“Whenever I would meet someone and say, ‘I’m Danny,’ they’d go, ‘Danny, do you do drugs?’ ’’ Balin told The Post on Wednesday, mimicking one of the most iconic lines in the movie.
So, Danny Noonan, on the 40th anniversary of “Caddyshack,’’ has a loop at the U.S. Open. Wouldn’t Judge Smails be proud?
The whole thing began when O’Keefe, now 65 and living in Ulster County, penned a tongue-in-cheek piece for golf.com soliciting any player playing in the U.S. Open to hire him to caddie.
O’Keefe, who grew up in Larchmont, caddied at Winged Foot in 1971 and 1972, right before he went west to pursue his acting career. His brother Bill has been a longtime Winged Foot member and is a past president of the club.
“I thought, ‘What if there’ a golfer out there who’s willing to give me a shot to carry their bag?’ ’’ O’Keefe told The Post. “It’s not like I’m going to mess anybody up. I do know the course. It could be fun.’’
O’Keefe’s initial motivation in trying to land a loop was to be able to initiate a donation fund for caddie relief to aid the caddies who were out of work during the pandemic.
When asked how realistic he thought his chances were of getting a bag for the Open, O’Keefe said, “I think it’s absolutely as big a long shot as Carl Spackler winning the Masters,’’ referring to the Bill Murray character who was the mentally unstable groundskeeper in the movie.
Well, next week, O’Keefe will be on the grounds with a golf bag over his shoulder, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy.
“In my opinion, Michael O’Keefe is not going to be able to carry a staff bag around Winged Foot,’’ Balin said with a laugh.
Asked if he plans to bring a lighter carry bag for O’Keefe next week, Balin said, “No, he’ll be carrying the full tour bag. I’m going to put him to work.’’
Balin said he DVRed “Caddyshack’’ on Tuesday night even though he estimated he’s watched the movie “15 or 20 times.’’
“I’m going to have to watch it to get the one-liners down so I can give it to him,’’ Balin said. “Because I’m going to be all over him during this whole … stunt.’’
Michael Breed, the former Golf Channel instructional personality who now teaches at Trump Ferry Point, was the middle man to this transaction, reaching out to Balin, his fellow Met Area pro, and pitching the idea of O’Keefe caddying for him.
“I try to take this somewhat serious, so I would never do this during a tournament round,’’ Balin said. “But I was like, ‘Yeah this will be cool. Danny Noonan. Monday and Tuesday.’ It’ll be a fun couple of days. It’ll lighten the mood up.’’
The USGA plans to have some fun with this, making it a social media event on its platforms.
O’Keefe revealed that he didn’t even play golf as a kid, that he “lied at the Caddyshack audition when they asked if I could play and I said, ‘Yeah.’ ’’
As soon as he got the gig, O’Keefe said he went back to Winged Woot and, with help of then head pro, Tom Nieporte, got lessons “so when I got there [to film the movie] I at least had something that resembled a golf swing.’’
Now he comes full circle, minus the powerhouse movie cast.
“I was lucky to be in the same movie with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight, because those guys are comic legends,’’ he said. “They were just geniuses and they were at the height of their power — all four of them. Anybody can see that all I did was just grab onto their coattails and hang on.’’
O’Keefe, though, has gone on to have an accomplished acting career, which continues today — despite the fact that he’ll forever be known as Danny Noonan.
“Actors are always pigeon-holed, and I didn’t ever have a grudge about it,’’ he said. “But there was a part of me that was like, ‘Man, I wish somebody would know me for the other work that I’ve done, too.’ ’’« Previous Post Next Post »