Originally created 06/18/97

`Squeeky' bows to leukemia



Jeff "Squeeky" Medlen, the wiry man with the high-pitched voice who carried Nick Price's bag to victory in the British Open and two PGA Championships, died less than a year after being diagnosed with leukemia. He was 43.

Medlen died Monday night at his home in Ohio, representatives for Price said Tuesday.

"Squeek was more than a friend to me," Price said in a statement. "He was a part of my family. He was a huge part of my success and I will always be grateful for his loyalty and devotion."

Players and fellow caddies showed their support for Medlen during his illness by wearing green ribbons containing the word "Squeeky."

Medlen was diagnosed with chronic myelogenus leukemia last July and told Price about his illness before the second round of the Western Open.

"I will forever cherish the time, the triumphs and the laughs we shared," Price said Tuesday. "Golf has lost one of its colorful characters."

Medlen gave up the bag he carried since 1990 at the end of last year and called former pro Jimmy Johnson to take over. The last time he carried Price's bag was at the Sarazen World Open in November, where we was thinner than normal, but still scurried along with Price, chatting as ever.

"His personality and sense of humor made him many friends around the world." Price said. "We are all going to miss him dearly."

Price watched Medlen go through painful bone marrow transplants in an effort to save his life. The bone marrow from Medlen's mother that was first inserted in February failed to graft and a second operation, completed in April, was necessary.

The Sunday before the Masters, Price visited Medlen at the Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus. He saw a once-healthy looking, positive professional drugged into despair, down to 120 pounds.

"Now he is sicker than he's ever been," Price said at the time. "And he is no better off than he was when he went in."

Medlen, whose nickname describes his high-pitched voice, first achieved celebrity status in 1991 when Price skipped the PGA for the birth of his son Gregory and Squeeky spent the week carrying the bag for an unknown named John Daly.

The long-hitting Daly won the tournament despite never having seen the Crooked Stick course until teeing it up for the first round, relying heavily on Medlen's knowledge of the layout.

Medlen became a celebrity in his own right in 1994 as Price won six tournaments, including the British Open and the PGA, on the way to being selected player of the year. Price also won the 1992 PGA.

Medlen began caddying on the LPGA tour in 1984 and moved to the PGA Tour in 1985. He worked for John Mahaffey for the first 11/2 years, caddied for Fred Couples for two seasons and also worked with Steve Jones and Jeff Sluman.

He hooked up with Price when Price's longtime caddy decided to go home to Ireland.

Details for the funeral service were not complete.