Jacob Cook is well known in the area for playing golf.
He’s making a name for himself as a golf caddy.
Cook, a 2016 graduate of Franklin County High and a member of the University of Kentucky golf team, is caddying for Chip McDaniel this week in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, California.
“It’s very, very exciting,” Cook said in a telephone interview before McDaniel’s round Thursday. “I can’t wait to get going.”
Cook caddied for McDaniel last week in a sectional qualifying event in Springfield, Ohio, where McDaniel tied for first with a six-under score of 134 (68-66) to qualify for the U.S. Open.
McDaniel shot even-par 71 in Thursday's opening round.
Cook and McDaniel were teammates at UK. McDaniel turned pro about a year ago, and his first professional victory was at the Governor’s Open at Juniper Hill in September.
“He had the sectional qualifying last week and played really well, so I got to stay on the bag out here,” Cook said. “It’s pretty surreal.”
This isn’t Cook’s first time to caddy. He was teammate Matt Liston’s caddy at the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, and he was on the bag for teammate Lukas Euler in January at the Genesis Open.
“There’s a group of guys, and we all caddy for each other,” Cook said. “Some of them have caddied for me before. I came to be known for being good at reading greens.
“I love it,” he said of caddying. “It fits my personality. I love helping out people.”
Spending time on the bag means Cook hasn’t been able to spend as much time golfing, but that doesn’t bother him.
“I was supposed to play in the Southeast Amateur in Columbus, Georgia, this week, and I had to pull out to come out here,” he said. “I haven’t hit a ball in about two weeks, so it’s cut into my golf a little bit, but it’s well worth it.”
Cook still has a full summer of golf planned.
He’s scheduled to play in the State Amateur beginning Monday in Paducah, but if McDaniel makes the cut in the U.S. Open, Cook will pull out of that tournament.
He’ll play in the Frankfort city championship at Juniper on June 22-23 along with a U.S. Amateur qualifier in mid-July. There’s also a tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July and the Kentucky State Open at Kearney Hill.
Cook, who will be a redshirt junior at UK next year, is enjoying golf as a player and a caddy.
“Maybe I could make a little career out of it if some of my teammates get going well,” he said of caddying. “In our first practice round we played with Brooks Koepka (this year’s PGA Championship winner).
“His caddy came up and said, ‘Can we join you?’ So we played nine holes with him. It was unreal. We also played with Lucas Glover, who won the U.S. Open in 2009.
“I’m inside the ropes with the best players in the world.”