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Joel Dahmen and his caddie Geno Bonnalie.
TULSA, Okla. — Earlier in the week, Joel Dahmen thought he’d have the week off. He was several spots down the alternate list and was planning to take in the year’s second major from home.
By Wednesday, though, several names had shifted and he was suddenly Lucky No. 156, the last man in the field. (At least until Bryson DeChambeau withdrew Wednesday afternoon, giving the final spot to Denny McCarthy.) Dahmen and his trusty caddie Geno Bonnalie made their way to Tulsa in time for a midmorning practice round. I caught up with them as they made the turn from No. 18 to No. 1, with Dahmen already hilariously underplaying his expectations for the week.
Our @dylan_dethier caught up with @Joel_Dahmen and @GenoBonnalie at Southern Hills.
Their expectations for this week might surprise you. 😂 pic.twitter.com/ijBihOPNsC
“My expectations are lower than Geno’s,” Dahmen said. “If I could play four days out here, I think that’d be good. This course is just too hard. It’s too long. The greens are too much.”
Geno, ever the optimist, shook his head.
“My expectations are a top-12,” he said. “You have to hit the fairways, which he does really well. And his long irons and fairway metals are amazing.”
“The problem is I will get worn out with those clubs over four days over someone hitting shorter —
“You’re going to wear everyone else out with those clubs and you’re going to be a problem to them.”
We could all use that type of positive reinforcement.
Nine holes in, was there anything that had surprised them about Southern Hills?
“I didn’t know anything about it at all, so I’m shocked at the slopes of the greens,” Dahmen said. “For a long golf course that’s going to be windy there’s just so much slope in them. So you’re hitting a long club in and you have to be very precise with a long club and it’s just hard to do.”
Bonnalie has a history with suspect accommodations and frequently shines a light on the less-fancy setups of Tour caddies. This week, though?
“Unbelievable this week,” he said, delighted. “A fellow caddie’s in-laws took me in. Proper digs this week, so I’m spoiled.”
As for their predicted winner — if it’s not going to be them? Here’s how that exchange went.
“Jordan Spieth is going to win this week,” Dahmen said. “He completes the career Grand Slam.”
Bonnalie agreed. “That’s a great call.” He supplied Scottie Scheffler as his own winning pick, though.
Dahmen continued. “I’m already best friends with him.”
“Yeah. We played golf together a couple times. We say hi every now and then. Pretty much best friends.”
Bonnalie finished it off. “He knows my name.”
Golf’s dynamic duo plays on. (You can watch it all at the video above.)
Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com. The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.
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