Vacationing Calif. deputy saves caddie who collapsed during PGA tournament
Sgt. Kelly Bunn, a 26-year law enforcement veteran, said it was the first time he performed CPR on someone
By Michael McGough
The Sacramento Bee
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — A Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy drove down to the Monterey Peninsula last week all set to enjoy a relaxing weekend of golf, but ended up springing into action on the 11th hole.
That’s where a caddie for amateur golfer Geoff Couch collapsed Feb. 3 during the second round of the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and where off-duty Sgt. Kelly Bunn, a 26-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, bolted onto the course.
While taking a phone call, Bunn noticed a golf bag in the middle of the fairway, where he’d seen a person moments earlier.
“I thought, ‘That’s odd,’” Bunn said in an interview. “So I end my phone call and watch as they’re trying to wake up who I then became aware is the caddie. As they’re trying to get him up, I realize that’s not going to happen.
“I was like, ‘OK, I should do something. I’m trained in first aid, CPR.’ And my wife goes, ‘Go.’ So I sprint across the fairway.”
Bunn administered an initial rescue breath to the caddie, then performed chest compressions for five to six minutes, he said. A Cal Fire officer eventually relieved Bunn, and the caddie was taken on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to a hospital.
Declining to identify the caddie out of respect for his family, Bunn said he remained in the hospital as of Thursday and was continuing to recover. The caddie’s identity has not been publicly released by the PGA Tour or others.
“That’s for the family, when they choose to give out that information, to do,” Bunn said. He called the caddie’s family “extremely appreciative.”
Bunn didn’t desire any extra attention, and was content to fade back into the crowd with his wife and move on. But his wife — unbeknownst to Bunn — later reached out to Couch to make contact with the caddie and his family to receive updates on his condition, the deputy said. Word also made its way around the Sheriff’s Office after Bunn told a friend and coworker.
Bunn had never had to perform CPR on somebody before last week, either on-duty or off.
“That was the first time. ... It’s just one of those serendipitous moments — had I not taken the phone call and slowed down my pace walking, I might not have been at that place at that time.”
A Sacramento native who’s an avid golfer and “huge” fan of the sport, Bunn said he’s been to the Pebble Beach Pro-Am four or five times.
Play resumed at Pebble Beach about an hour after the caddie collapsed, ESPN and the Golf Channel reported.
Bunn hopes one positive outcome from the incident is to inspire more people to become certified in CPR and first aid, saying it saves lives.
“Yes, call 911. But between the time that they arrive, you’re already starting to do something to give that person better odds to survive,” he said.
“And don’t be afraid to go and help someone.”
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