Most of the game's best players become so synonymous with their caddies through the years—Phil and Bones, Tiger and Stevie—that when we see a player/caddie duo not together, it instantly grabs our attention.
That's the case with Jordan Spieth, whose regular caddie, Michael Greller, is with his family as he and his wife, Ellie, welcomed the birth of their child last month. Greller has become such a fixture alongside Spieth, who often refers to Greller's influence on his decisions in using pronouns like "we" and "us" in describing decision-making. But Greller didn't make the trip to Australia, either, as the three-time major winner defended his title at the Australian Open with his long-time swing coach Cameron McCormick on the bag.
In the Bahamas this week at the Hero World Challenge, Spieth chose someone else to step in for Greller. One of Spieth's buddies from his high-school golf team in Dallas, Eric Leyendecker, is filling in, and what from we've learned about Leyendecker's story, it's quite inspirational.
Leyendecker has overcome three battles with cancer at a young age. In the post below, he details a surgery to remove a tumor in his kidney, and includes a video taken by his buddy, Spieth. You can hear Spieth offering inspirational words to Leyendecker, "You look good." Listen to the video below with audio:
Hello friends and family. Thursday I had a surgery to remove a tumor from my kidney. This marks the third time I have had some type of cancer. Thanks to the amazing doctors, nurses, and staff at UT Southwestern I had a successful surgery and I am now leaving the hospital on the road to recovery. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement and support through this time and hopefully this will be the last time I deal with this. Also a big thank you to my family, I couldn't do it without you. You can thank @jordanspieth for this awesome video of me right after the surgery.
We're told that Spieth and Eric placed a friendly wager on the Texas (Spieth's alma mater) vs. TCU (Leyendecker's school) football game earlier this year, and if TCU won Eric had the gig. When TCU pulled it off, the plans were in motion. The buddies are close family friends, too. Here's a photo of Leyendecker celebrating Spieth's British Open victory earlier this year with Spieth's brother, Steven.
And here's Leyendecker with Spieth's sister, Ellie, at her graduation.
And it looks like Leyendecker was on hand to celebrate Spieth's Masters victory in 2015.
How cool? Just to have a buddy who is a high-profile athlete like Spieth is pretty awesome. To have that friend ask you to be his caddie for a week at Tiger Woods' event in the Bahamas—after beating cancer—well, that's just living the life.