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Caddie Duplantis killed when hit by a taxi

January 24, 2008|Thomas Bonk

LA JOLLA -- Steve Duplantis, a caddie who gained a reputation for his free-spirit lifestyle, was killed early Wednesday after he was hit by a taxi in Del Mar. Duplantis, 35, died while crossing a street about 2 a.m., said Sgt. Randy Webb of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Duplantis was pronounced dead at the scene.

Duplantis was the caddie for Eric Axley, who is playing in the Buick Invitational, which begins today at Torrey Pines. He gained fame, as well as notoriety, as the caddie for Jim Furyk and Rich Beem.

Furyk eventually had to let Duplantis go because he was habitually late to the tee because of his fondness for late-night entertainment. With Beem, Duplantis was a prime subject of a book called "Bud, Sweat and Tees," in which their after-hour exploits were examined.

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

With Duplantis on the bag, Furyk won four times. Duplantis also worked with Beem when he won the 1999 Kemper Open and with Tommy Armour III when he set the PGA Tour scoring record at the Texas Open in 2003.

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

In a statement, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said it was a somber day:

"The PGA Tour is saddened by the loss of one of its family members. We send our thoughts and condolences to Steve's friends and family."

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