ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Stewart Cink made it official. Son Reagan, who was on the bag for his first victory in more than nine years at the Safeway Open in September, is permanently taking over his dad’s bag – at least for the rest of the 2020-21 season, anyway.
This all began on a lark earlier this summer when Reagan, who has been living at home with his parents during COVID-19 after graduating from Georgia Tech to save money for his upcoming wedding, told his dad he’d like to caddie for him at an event.
“I said, ‘How about the Safeway?’” Stewart recalled.
He credited his son with being a calming influence, as at age 47, he shot a final-round 7-under 65 to win the tournament in Napa, California, by two strokes over Harry Higgs. It was the PGA Tour’s feel-good moment since the resumption of play in June.
A taste of success had Reagan happy to resume duties during the next event, the Sanderson Farms Championship, and they shot another Sunday 65 to finish T-12. But father knows best and Stewart suggested it was time for son to return to the real world and put his industrial engineering from Georgia Tech to work as a member of the technology product management team at Delta Airlines.
“He’s a great caddie, he’s doing a great job, but I don’t think I want him to become a caddie,” Stewart said at the time. “He’s just a little bit too good at doing this to where I think if he keeps going, he might find a home out here.”
Stewart played the following week in Las Vegas and shot a final-round 81 to drop to T-64 with regular caddie, Kip Henley, on the bag. After a few weeks off, Reagan got the call to the bullpen to caddie at the Bermuda Championship and father and son teamed to finish T-4 with a Sunday 64. Stewart couldn’t ignore the results with his son on the bag.
“We didn’t have to leave until Monday so we were kind of sitting around the room with nothing to do. Reagan was there and he caddied, and my wife was there, all sitting around. Probably like sort of how nothing good happens with idle time and idle hands, we all sat around and said, ‘Hey, this has been really fun. You’re supposed to go back to work next week, but maybe this is the right time for you to push work back for a year. I like you caddying and I think you’re having a good time and you’re good at it, and it’s nice to spend time with our son,’” Stewart recalled.
“He got it worked out with Delta Airlines that he was going to be able to just sort of push his job back. He’ll go to work next year after he gets married in July and he’ll caddie the rest of this season. So, a change for us, but something I’m really looking forward to and I think he is, too.”
Father and son missed the cut at the Vivint Houston Open, but Stewart pointed out that it is more than mere coincidence that he’s played well with his son by his side. He’s contributed more than simply adhering to the caddie mantra of show up, keep up and shut up.
“He’s not just a guest caddie, he’s not just a family member out there carrying the bag. He understands golf really well and he understands me and he’s been a real asset to me in maybe like a little bit of an intangible kind of way,” Stewart said. “I just feel really calm out there with him. I know that when he’s standing across with the bag and after we’ve made our decision, I know that he has like full trust and 100 percent confidence that I’m going to be able to do what we just talked about doing.
“That’s just a big asset, to know that your caddie is just really behind you and believes in you and also has that sort of unconditional relationship with you that if it goes great, it goes great, if it doesn’t, then hey, we’re still father and son. I think that’s been a real big asset and it’s helped me to be calm and to be confident and really to just be myself.”
Stewart also noted that Reagan may give up the bag at some point to his older brother, Connor.
“We’ve already discussed that,” Stewart said. “I don’t know where it’s going to be yet, but he’ll come out and caddie.”
But this week at Sea Island where Stewart is making his 600th Tour start at the RSM Classic, he will look to add to his early-season haul with Reagan toting his bag. Asked what young player he’d suggest one of his boys try to caddie for to make a good living on Tour, Stewart said, “I don’t know that I would want either of my kids to be on the bag of any other player because they’re both too big of an asset. There’s enough disadvantage I have, I don’t want to give anybody else more advantage.”