Caddie Edwards Dies of Lou Gehrig's Disease; Ponte Vedra Beach Resident, 49, Carried Tom Watson's Bag for 30 Years

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Bruce Edwards, the Ponte Vedra Beach caddie whose struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease inspired longtime boss Tom Watson at last year's U.S. Open, died Thursday. He was 49.

Edwards, Watson's caddie for 30 years, died at his home after a yearlong struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

"He's not with us in body, but he's with us in spirit," Watson, who struggled to hold back tears, said from Augusta, Ga. "I'm relying on his spirit to take care of me."

Edwards was on the bag for many of Watson's most memorable triumphs, including a magical opening round at last year's U.S. Open outside Chicago. The 53-year-old Watson shot a 5-under 65, matching his best score ever at the Open and giving him a share of the lead.

It was quite a scene as they walked up the 18th fairway together to rousing applause.

"He is some kind of golfer, let me tell you," Edwards said at the time, his speech slurred by the disease, which has no known cure.

Watson got a phone call about 6:30 a.m. Thursday telling him of Edwards' death. With a local caddie on his bag, Watson struggled to a 4-over 76 in the first round of the Masters.

"It's not a good day for any of us," said Ben Crenshaw, who picked Edwards to be in charge of the caddies at the 1999 Ryder Cup. "He was a real professional and one of the most positive human beings I've ever been around. It's not fair. They took a good one there."

Edwards died just hours after being honored in Augusta with the Ben Hogan award, given annually by the Golf Writers Association of America to someone who remained active in the game despite a physical handicap or serious illness.

Edwards' father, Jay, accepted the award. …