78-year-old PGA Tour caddy thankful to survive heart attack suffered at KC tournament

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Golf is a game of skill and a little luck.

The game on the greens is more physical than you may realize, too. Professional caddies on the PGA Tour can walk as much as 6 miles per day, up and down hills, while carrying heavy bags.

One longtime pro caddy got the scare of his life during last weekend’s Web.com Tour tournament in south Kansas City.

All he knew was that he didn’t feel like himself.

Hylton James, 78, has been caddying pro golf tournaments since 1985, many of which are like last weekend’s Kansas City Golf Classic at Blue Hills Country Club. He’s caddied for notable pros, including Steve Pate and Charley Hoffman.

The native New Yorker said he was making his way up the slope on the 18th fairway when he had to stop to rest, and someone recognized the signs of a heart attack.

Hylton James

“I am grateful, very grateful,” James told FOX4 on Friday.

James, who now resides in Atlanta, served as Ben Kohles’ caddy last weekend at Blue Hills.

Jason Bohn, a 46-year old Web.com Tour player, spotted James’ concern during the round. Bohn recognized the signs of a heart attack, perhaps, because he suffered his own heart attack during a golf tournament in Florida in 2016.

“I guess Bohn looked over and saw me and said, ‘Something’s not right. Let’s get him out of here,'” James said.

Paramedics rushed James to St. Joseph Medical Center, where doctors spotted a heart valve blockage. Dr. Francisco Lammoglia, a cardiologist at the hospital, served on the medical team that performed James’ bypass surgery, which likely saved his life.

“He was an awesome surgeon,” a tearful James said. “He cared.”

“We did an angiogram and found he had a significant lesion,” Lammoglia said.

“He wanted to get up out of bed the day after the procedure. I don’t anticipate Hylton will be sitting down for a long time. I think he’ll be back on his feet soon, and I hope to see him on next year’s Tour event soon,” Lammoglia said.

James isn’t sure what his future holds as far as employment since caddying golf tournaments is physically demanding work and requires a lot of travel.

The important thing is: Doctors expect him to be discharged no later than Monday. They’re giving him a promising prognosis.

A Go Fund Me page has been started for James to help with his medical expenses. If you’d like to help, find the page here.

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