MAMARONECK, N.Y. — Nostalgia plays well at Winged Foot, so it was fitting to see Michael O’Keefe back at work Monday with a familiar red Bushwood hat on his head and a cumbersome Titleist staff bag on his shoulder.

The 65-year-old actor was a caddie here for two summers and went on to play Danny Noonan in Caddyshack.

He was on social media last week lobbying for a loop here, just hoping to get back inside the gates to see the U.S. Open up close and in person. He picked up a couple days of work when local club professional Danny Balin responded with an invitation.

The introduction was made by golf instructor and television commentator Michael Breed and Monday, at 8:51 a.m., Noonan and Balin were off to scout the back nine.

Sep 14, 2020; Mamaroneck, New York, USA; Actor Michael O’Keefe, left, caddies for golfer Danny Balin during a practice round for the 2020 U.S. Open golf tournament at Winged Foot Golf Club – West. O’Keefe is known for playing Danny Noonan in the movie “Caddyshack.” Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve given a lot of interviews this year because it’s the 40th anniversary of the release of the movie,” said O’Keefe, who’s a Larchmont native. “I knew the Open was going to be here. My brother, Billy, is a member here and a former (club) president and I was thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if somebody put me on their bag?’ And I thought the chances of that happening were about as likely as Carl Spackler winning the Masters, but the next thing you know, I get a call from Mike Breed and he said, ‘Hey, are you serious?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, why?’ He said, ‘Start doing some push-ups, I think it’s going to work out.’ ”

Balin loved the idea from the start.

“I had a Team Titleist event with Michael Breed, and afterward Michael pulled me to the side and told me he thought it would be a great thing to do,” said the 38-year-old Valhalla resident, who is the head pro at Fresh Meadow Country Club on Long Island. “We had spoken and kind of agreed that it would be great, two locals, him having grown up here me being here as a club pro and one of the only locals in the field. We both have a little history here at Winged Foot and I thought it would just be great for golf, great for the 40th anniversary of the making of Caddyshack. And getting some notoriety in the area is a good thing for me, for the club that I work at and all the members I work with.”

The pairing is also spotlighting a fundraising effort started by Winged Foot member Bill Fugazy to aid the club’s full-time caddies who have lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, the Richie’s Gift campaign on GoFundMe.org is nearing $250,000.

O’Keefe has kicked in money.

“We just did our first nine together and it was a blast,” he said. “It was so much fun to be back out there and get a feel for the course again. Danny has got game. He has made my dream come true, so I owe him everything for that.”



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