Golf-PGA Tour mourns death of caddie Duplantis

SAN DIEGO Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:14pm GMT

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SAN DIEGO Jan 23 (Reuters) - The PGA Tour mourned the death of long-time caddie Steve Duplantis on Wednesday after the Canadian was struck by a taxi earlier in the day.

Duplantis, 35, was killed while crossing a road in the Californian town of Del Mar in the early hours of the morning, the San Diego Sheriff's Office said.

"The PGA Tour is saddened by the loss of one of its family members," Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

"We send our thoughts and condolences to Steve's friends and family."

A popular figure on the PGA Tour, where he was known for bringing out the best in his players, Duplantis had caddied for former major winners Jim Furyk and Rich Beem.

He had been scheduled to work this week for American Eric Axley at the Buick Invitational.

A defining moment in Duplantis's career came at the 1999 Kemper Open where he helped American Beem, then a rookie, win his maiden PGA Tour title by a shot in his 12th start.

"He led Beem around like a wet nurse," Alan Shipnuk wrote in Sports Illustrated magazine.

"Duplantis was the star of the Sunday telecast, inspiring Gary McCord to refer to Duplantis and Beem as 'Yoda and his pupil' and Jim Nantz to hail him for 'one of the greatest caddying performances you will ever see.'" (Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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