UNIVERSITY PLACE — Joe Greiner, who teamed with Johnny MacArthur, was sixth in stroke play at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball before losing Monday in the round-of-32 in match play at Chambers Bay, but has no illusions about someday being a PGA Tour player.
“Those guys are way too good,” Greiner, 34, said during a break in a round that took more than six hours Monday.
Greiner should know. He is around PGA Tour players all the time as the caddie for Max Homa, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour who won earlier this season at the Genesis Invitational.
When Greiner brought up with Homa the idea of playing in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, he thought it was during a typical week in the golf schedule. Once entered, he realized he had made a mistake looking at the calendar: It was during the week of the PGA Championship.
Greiner helped Homa come up with a replacement, Jim “Bones” Mackay, who caddied for 25 years for Phil Mickelson. But Greiner had more success than his boss, making the cut here while Homa missed the cut in the PGA Championship,
“I watched every shot, and was hoping he would play better,” Greiner said of Homa. “I was hoping Bones would give him a little luck but unfortunately he didn’t.”
Greiner, who played golf at College of the Canyons and was previously the caddie for Kevin Chapell, had a little bit of help preparing for the Four-Ball: Michael Greller, the caddie for Jordan Spieth.
Before becoming the caddie for Spieth, Greller had been a caddie at Chambers Bay while teaching middle school in University Place. He gave Greiner his yardage book from the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, which Spieth won.
“He has called me every day,” Greiner said of Greller.
The extra help wasn’t enough Monday as Cole Berman and Michael Davis rallied from 2-down to win 1-up.
Greiner plays once or twice a week when he has weeks off. Homa gives him two strokes per nine, which he said makes their matches pretty even.
He showed off his skills as a player and caddie Monday. He gave MacArthur a perfect read on about a 35-foot putt that broke about 10 feet, and it dropped in for a birdie on the ninth hole.
Greiner would have liked to keep playing, but he said just getting to match play (32 of 128 teams make it) was big.
“It made it worth it to take a week off caddying,” he said.
* Among the teams advancing to the round-of-16 were Jacob Koppenberg from Bellingham and Reid Hatley from Hayden Lake, Idaho.
* Eleven teams competed Monday morning in a playoff for the final six spots in match play. Among the five losing teams were Ethan Evans of Mercer Island and Max Herendeen of Bellevue.
* The round-of-16 and quarterfinals are Tuesday. The semifinals and final are Wednesday.