Twin brothers — one player, one caddie — set for weekend showdown at Detroit Golf Club
Detroit — The Straka brothers, twins, born two minutes apart, both are looking for that Rocket Mortgage Classic championship — albeit, in very different roles.
Strep Straka is a golfer in the field at Detroit Golf Club, and enters the weekend at 10 under after a second-round, bogey-free 66 on Friday. He's two shots back of the lead, looking for his first PGA Tour title.
His brother, Samuel, is a caddie in the field, for Chris Kirk, the co-leader at the halfway point after threatening the course record Friday before carding a 65. Samuel, too, is looking for his first PGA Tour, on the bag or otherwise.
Make no mistake: Sam's allegiance isn't conflicted.
"This week," Kirk said with a big grin, "he's rooting for the guy that's paying him."
This actually is the first week Sam has caddied for Kirk, though it's something they've been talking about for quite some time.
Most PGA Tour players are creatures of habit, and have the same caddie on the bag for years and years. Kirk takes a more unconventional approach, liking to switch things up on occasion, particularly if he has a chance to put a friend on the bag. That's especially comforting these days, with Kirk 14 months sober, and seven months since his return to the PGA Tour following a self-imposed absence to get things in order.
The plan is for Sam to be on the bag for at least a month.
"It's been really fun," said Kirk, who's 12 under after a second-round 68, and looking for his first PGA Tour victory since 2015. "Sam's a great player himself.
"So, definitely someone that I trust out there."
Kirk and the Straka brothers have been good friends for years. All three have deep roots in Georgia, and all attended the University of Georgia — though Kirk, at 35, was there well before the Strakas, 27.
When they're not golfing, they're often hanging out on Kirk's 40-acre farm in Athens, Georgia.
Kirk has a driving range on the property, some old cars that are fun to play with, a pistol range in the woods behind his house, and a pool.
In other words, plenty to entertain — and perhaps the venue for a big celebration, no matter which one wins, so long as one of them wins.
Straka has had a fine season, with two tied-for-fourth finishes, while Kirk, entering this week, had missed five of seven cuts since his return to professional golf in November at the Mayakoba Classic. But Kirk did win a tournament last week at the Korn Ferry Tour, a springboard into this week.
"We're all really close," said Kirk, tied for the lead with Webb Simpson. "Obviously, they're closer, they're born two minutes apart. But (two of my really good friends in the world, and (we) have had a blast."