Russell Henley walked over to a spot on the 18th green at Idle Hour Country Club and told his brother, Adam Henley, to land his ball in that exact spot.
“Hit it right there and you’ll make it,” Russell said.
Russell walked over to an observer and said, “If he tries to make it, he’ll make it. No reason to try to get it close.”
Adam landed the ball in that exact spot, and it rolled in for a chip-in birdie.
Russell yelled, “What did I tell you?”
It was a role reversal for the two brothers, who are separated in age by nearly 12 years.
Adam, 32, is usually the one giving the advice to his younger brother when it comes down to clutch shots and important putts. The oldest Henley sibling will resume that role Tuesday when he serves as the caddie for Russell in a practice round for the U.S. Open at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
The U.S. Open, Russell’s second professional event and his first PGA Tour event, begins Thursday.
With Russell competing as a standout golfer at Georgia and Adam operating his own business, the two spend much of their time together on the golf course. Sometimes that comes when Russell has breaks from school, while other times it’s when Adam serves as a caddie in the more important amateur events.
“It’s really special for us because we just don’t see each other very much,” Russell said. “He’s my best friend. This will be special for both of us.”
Adam’s role this week won’t be that of a traditional caddie. He’ll definitely help with club selection, reading putts and serving as a sounding board for Russell’s decisions. But Adam’s most important role is as a calming influence.
Adam keeps his brother loose on the golf course, making jokes, tossing clubs to him and generally serving more as a friend than an advisor.
At the 2008 Georgia Amateur Championship, Russell struggled to get into a rhythm and watched as the tournament began to slip away. Adam started walking slower, which forced his brother to slow down. The simple technique helped Russell pace his play and helped him regain his focus and win the tournament.
“It should be an awesome experience for me,” Adam said. “He could go with a caddie with local knowledge, but he’s using me. It’s a great honor. I’m just going to help like I always do. And we should have a lot fun.”