Local caddies meet golfer-in-chief Obama
By Casey Toner email@example.com June 17, 2012 11:59AM
Matt Kettering (from left) and Brian Kettering hold up hats and golf balls signed by President Barack Obama. Obama hit the links on Father's Day at the Beverly Country Club. | Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 19, 2012 6:15AM
Twins Matt and Brian Kettering had a good Sunday at the Beverly Country Club.
The 14-year-old caddies from Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community put in a day’s work, made good money and met President Barack Obama.
“It’s not every day you get to meet the president of the United States and get his autograph,” Brian said. “It was the best day.”
Obama spent a late Sunday morning at the Southwest Side course, 8700 Western Ave. He played with two longtime friends, Martin Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker, and his trip director and frequent golf partner, Marvin Nicholson.
He arrived at the course a little after 10:30 a.m. and left at 4 p.m. as curious onlookers had gathered on the corner at 87th Street and Western to watch his presidential motorcade.
The Kettering brothers caddied for a twosome that played just ahead of Obama, who used Secret Service agents as his own caddies. The brothers said he signed their hats, talked to them briefly and gave them official presidential golf balls after he finished 18 holes at the private club.
Matt said Obama was flanked by at least 12 people in six golf carts wherever he went on the course. The two men Matt caddied for played slower so they could check out Obama’s golf game.
Brian said a security guard put him in touch with one of Obama’s handlers, who led the twins to meet the president. He said Obama wished them luck in high school and tossed each of them a signed presidential golf ball — a Titleist stamped with “44” and the acronym “POTUS.”
The Ketterings’ older sister, caddie Shannon Kettering, said course was busy because of Secret Service members roaming the club. She said all the caddies were searched for weapons, and dogs sniffed the course for bombs.
She said caddies were talking about Obama’s visit when they got to work about 9:30 a.m.
“I thought they were joking,” Shannon said. “Caddies have been saying it for weeks, jokingly.”
She also said Obama was not the first celebrity to play the course. Actor Bill Murray, former White Sox coach Ozzie Guillen and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews all have stopped by since she has worked there.
Obama’s appearance, she said, was by far the biggest deal.
“Everyone was staring at the president,” Kettering said. “They were starstruck.”
Beverly Country Club seemed like a logical place for Obama to play. The club is about a 20- or 30-minute ride from the president’s home in the Kenwood community.
It has a long history, too. Established in 1908, the course is ranked as one of Golfweek’s Top 100 Classic Golf courses in the United States. Over the years, it has been the host of four Western Open championships (1910, 1963, 1967 and 1970) and one National Amateur championship (1931).
Obama’s relaxed outing came hours before he’s set to fly to Los Cabos, Mexico, for a Group of 20 summit dominated by Europe’s financial crisis and the growing global economic anxiety.
The president has spent much of the weekend in Chicago with his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law.
They attended the wedding Saturday of White House adviser Valerie Jarrett’s daughter in the same neighborhood the Obamas call home.