Caddie Shaft

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), a former teen caddie who boasts one of the best golf games in the House, recently introduced a bill called the Caddie Relief Act. Burton says the bill, which would allow country clubs to treat full-time caddies as independent contractors, will prevent the clubs from replacing caddies with golf carts in order to avoid paying federal taxes. In a dramatic press release, Burton called on members to "help save America's youth" and said, "If the IRS has their way, we can add caddies to the Endangered Species list." But is Burton just trying to help out country clubs? Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) thinks so—calling the bill a boon for "country club Republicans." Alec French, head of the Career Caddie Coalition, which opposes the bill, claims that the majority of the country's estimated 60,000 caddies are "unskilled" and that to "expect them to negotiate good agreements for themselves is absurd." But French isn't motivated only by a desire to save America's youth, either. His coalition lobbies on behalf of a Virginia employment agency that supplies full-time caddies to country clubs.