A LEGENDARY caddy, from the Bradford District, feels he has got the “gorilla” off his back after finally winning his maiden major.
Over his 40-year career Billy Foster, who was born in Keighley, has worked with the very best, including Tiger Woods and Seve Ballesteros, but has never been able to achieve one of golf’s most cherished prizes.
That all changed on Sunday when he helped Yorkshire-born Matt Fitzpatrick claim the 122nd US Open at Brookline.
The Sheffield golfer carded a closing 68 to finish six under par, a shot ahead of playing partner Will Zalatoris and world number one Scottie Scheffler.
“I have not had much food in the last 24 hours, I have been on a liquid diet,” Foster told the Telegraph & Argus after only just walking through the door at his Eldwick home.
“Relief is the word. I have been lucky to win so many tournaments but not a major. I have been really close on eight occasions but always heartbreakingly missed out.
“Someone said I’ve got that monkey off my back. It felt more like a gorilla. It is utter relief.
“If you’re going to win one, they do not come much bigger than the US Open.
“Darren (Clarke) beating Tiger Woods to win the WGC Match Play and Westy (Lee Westwood) reaching world number one were big, but this is my greatest achievement and a nice payday to go along with it too.”
The victory means Fitzpatrick joins 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the US Amateur and US Open on the same course, Nicklaus doing so at Pebble Beach in 1961 and 1972.
Foster heaped high praise on the 27-year-old, labeling him the “most professional player he has ever worked with”.
The Bingley St Ives Golf Club member added: “He has just gone from strength to strength over the last few years. It will be the first of many for him.
“You just come and try to limit your mistakes. To hit 17 out of 18 greens under that pressure is just unbelievable.
“He is the most professional player I have ever caddied. His work ethic is just on another level.”
Now 56, Foster is hoping to stay in the game until he turns 60. That’s if his results or body doesn’t let him down before then.
The bagman said: “In this game, you are like a football manager, you live and die by your results.
“It is all about my fitness and health. I have been doing it for 40 years and that takes its toll on the body.
“I am 57 next, so I am hoping to do another three years and get to 60.”
Foster has raised funds for a number of charities with a series of challenges over the years.
In 2020, he raised more then £34,000 for the NHS by selling off golf memorabilia collected during his illustrious career. Items auctioned off included donated signed Ryder Cup flags, the caddy vest he wore during his time with Woods,
In 2010, he walked 100 miles with a golf bag on his back and I raised £70,000 for children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters.