They started talking about him during the final round of the Honda Classic.
Paul Azinger pointed out that Keith Mitchell’s caddie — Pete Persolja — was using a compass at the Bear Trap holes to determine wind direction — and that was totally legal.
The conversation began to grow the rest of the day and when Mitchell holed that final birdie putt to claim the Honda Classic — he emerged from semi-obscurity on the PGA Tour but even moreso, his caddie is becoming the talk of the golf world.
He’s already got a nickname — Crunchy Pete.
The dude heads to tour stops in a 2005 Jeep Liberty with who knows how many miles on it. He’s lived in tents, worked an incredible array of odd jobs and has pretty much spent the past 20 years of his life as an adventure-seeker — roaming from the Rockies to West Virginia.
He dropped out of Bowling Green College back in the 90s and has lived the life of a what’s next wanderer.
Crunchy Pete avoided a steady job until he finally decided he’d become a looper (caddie) at the Honors Course on the outskirts of Chattanooga, Tennessee. That’s where he met Mitchell. Somehow Mitchell liked him enough and convinced Crunchy Pete to go out on the Web.com Tour with him. Perfect work for a guy who likes to wander. The Web.com is full of small towns.
Mitchell talked about his guy with this description:
“My mind is going 1,000 mph every second, and Pete is always down to earth, always telling me: Everything is going to be all right, man. It’s all good. It’s always all good.”
Persolja has no problem sleeping in his jeep, or on someone’s back porch.
After the Honda win by Mitchell, he collected a six-figure check — the most money he’d ever seen in his life.
Didn’t change him a bit.
This week he’s staying at a Super 8 motel in Orlando. He found his way to Bay Hill using a map — no GPS.
“It’s great, it’s lets you see the big picture,” Persolja said about that map of his.
Dude’s got a pretty good handle on life.
He’s living proof that not all those who wander are lost.