Spring break can be a wild experience for college students. Ohio State freshman golfer Jamie Sindelar would agree, but probably for much different reasons that you might think.
Sindelar spent his break away from the Ohio State campus two weeks ago in an exotic locale, the Dominican Republic, caddying for his father, Joey, in a Champions Tour event.
Joey was three-time All-American and member of the 1979 national championship team at Ohio State. He is also an accomplished golfer on both the PGA and Champions Tours.
With son Jamie on the bag, Joey fired rounds of 70-68-67 to finish fourth at the Cap Cana Championship. Jamie estimates that he has caddied for his father between 10 and 15 times, but it still never gets old.
“Every time he tees it up its exciting,” Jamie said. “Not only because he’s my dad, but the players he gets to play with and because he is so good.”
Currently, Joey is second in Top 10 finishes with four in six tournaments and third on the Charles Schwab Cup points list and money list. The Champions Tour has grown in stature dramatically over the last decade.
“It’s scary good,” Jamie said. “You go out there and you’re like oh, there’s Jack Nicklaus; there’s Tom Watson and Greg Norman.’ I actually got to hit balls next to Greg Norman a few weeks ago.”
Over the years, the younger Sindelar, raised in Horseheads, N.Y., has been able to hone his skills on the bag. At first, he said he was just someone carrying his father’s golf bag. Now, he is able to stay in a playing mind set and offer advice, whether it is reading greens or club selection.
Growing up with a dad on the PGA Tour, you would think golf was always at the fore front, but that was not necessarily true in the Sindelar household.
“I always had clubs when I was a youngster, but I never got serious about it until I was 10 or 11 years old,” Jamie said. “He (my dad) never really wanted me to play. He just gave me clubs and asked if I wanted to go (to the course) and I would always say yes.”
From then on, Jamie fell in love with the game and had a successful high school career which led him to Ohio State as a second-generation Buckeye. He is red-shirting this season in preparation for next.
“I’ve wanted to play here since I was a little guy,” Jamie said. “I actually use my dad’s Brutus head cover from when he was playing here.”
Although Ohio State’s home Scarlet Course has changed over the years, there are subtle nuances between father and son.
“It’s weird seeing the similarities,” Jamie said. “My dad used to show me pictures of the course when I was younger and he told me he used to aim toward the tower on the range and I find myself doing the same thing now.”
Another factor in Jamie becoming a Buckeye was head coach Jim Brown, who was at the helm of that 1979 national title team. Although Jamie will only to get to play one season under the legendary coach, he is cherishing every moment of it.
“It’s really fun and everyone is excited to play well for him,” Jamie said. “But it is also sad knowing he won’t be here next year. He’s an unbelievable coach and is there for you so it’ll be tough losing him. He said he’s going to be around, though, so I’m going to hold him to that.”
Between lessons picked up from his father and their college coach, the course ahead looks good for Jamie.
Written by Kyle Rowland, Ohio State Athletics Communications