LPGA CME Group Titleholders: Players, caddies remember rules official Doug Brecht

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News William DeShazer/Staff Natalie Gulbis, center left, and Veronica Felibert take time during Friday's second round of the CME Group Titleholders event at TwinEagles Golf Club in North Naples to autograph a golf cart in honor of longtime LPGA rules official Doug Brecht, who died Oct. 12 due to West Nile virus. The cart will be given to his wife, Stephanie. Photo by BETH HALL Doug Brecht, Vice President of rules and officials for the LPGA, answers questions during a news conference following the rain delayed first round of the LPGA Tour's NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament at Pinnacle Country Club, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007, in Rogers, Ark. Stacy Lewis, a senior at the University of Arkansas, held the first round lead of the tournament which was shortened from 54 holes to 18. Lewis isn't considered an official winner because the tournament did not last at least 36 holes. (AP Photo/Beth Hall) The empty red golf cart almost seemed to be at peace while resting on a quiet section of grass next to a wooden bridge, away from the din of galleries. One-by-one throughout the day, the players in the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders teed off at the TwinEagles Club's par-3 17th hole, crossed the bridge, stopped at the cart and signed it as a tribute to tour rules official Doug Brecht, who died in October at age 62 from West Nile virus. "We miss you Doug," wrote Player of the Year Stacy Lewis. Tour player Katherine Hull penned: "Thanks for all your passion and love of life and the tour. God Bless you!" Similar sentiments from players and caddies filled the front, back, sides and seat. The cart, which included emblems of Doug Brecht's beloved Chicago Cubs on the passenger side and Oklahoma University ? his alma mater ? on the driver's side, will be presented to his widow, Stephanie. The couple met in the early 1990s when Stephanie played on the LPGA Tour. Doug Brecht was an LPGA rules official for nearly 20 years. "It takes a special person to be a rules official," said Craig Castrale, the caddie and husband of tour player Nicole Castrale. The couple, which has been on tour for about 10 years, counted Doug as one of their close friends within the tour family. "It's hit several generations of LPGA players and caddies. He was friends with everybody. Everyone has a Doug story." If it wasn't a story, then an update on a Cubs game would suffice. "We're both Cub fans and he would drive by in the cart during the summer and tell me their scores," Castrale recalled. Tour player Cristie Kerr remembered Brecht as a great rules official and just a great guy. "He was suffering for a couple months before he passed. He's in a better place and he's watching us," Kerr said. "I'm sure he's playing a lot better golf courses in Heaven that we are." The score Brittany Lincicome wrote on the 17th was a birdie. After signing the cart, she holed out from a bunker, perhaps with an assist from Doug. "All I heard my dad say was that was from Doug," Lincicome said.