Caddy Art: What Makes a Good Golf Companion?

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Caddy Art: What Makes a Good Golf Companion?

Caddies are always in the spotlight and have a unique look into the world of professional top sport.

“I can’t overestimate (Eddie’s) influence on my game.”

There’s a treasure trove of caddy stories out there, like the unlucky guy responsible for the name of the 10th hole – called South America – on the Women’s British Open’s host course, Carnoustie.

Legend has it that he was drunk and bragged about emigrating to the distant continent the next day, only to be found sleeping on the green in the morning.

And that’s how the hole got its unique name.

Veteran caddy Billy Foster – the Englishman who worked with Gordon Brand Jr., Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods at the 2005 Presidents Cup and currently Matt Fitzpatrick has seen almost everything 40 years Caddy.

He remembered what the job was like in the 1980s – sleeping a night in tents, buses and even a bush on a French motorway, living without a cell phone or credit card, no mileage books and even the middle of a driving range with other players’ balls catch and try not to get hit.

“The goal posts have changed slightly,” he told CNN Sport.

“Back then there weren’t any running meters, so you had to go there on Monday and pull your own treadmill on the trundle bike. That took seven to eight hours alone.”

Sunesson told CNN, like Foster, in 2018 that she started caddy riding to travel and see places.

“Back then there was no thought of making any money playing the game at all,” added Foster, who said that nowadays ex-pros are considering career choices.

Even three-time Grand Slam tennis champion Andy Murray is excited about the idea of ​​caddying – although as a perfectionist there might be one aspect of his job that could keep him up at night.

READ: After the second big win at the Open, Collin Morikawa has the chance to represent Team USA at Tokyo 2020Sunesson shows off during a round with Nick Faldo.

Fifteen clubs nightmare

Foster was Clarke’s caddy when he finished third at the 2001 Royal Lytham & St. Annes Open all his time on the job.

To this day, Foster wakes up drenched in sweat several times a year and panics around 15 clubs, one more than was required by law in the 1930s.

“You try to get the bat out, then three more appear, then there are 18 clubs in the pocket, you get rid of them and another five appear! It’s the caddie’s worst nightmare. “

Former Masters Champion Woosnam’s caddy Miles Byrne broke the news to his boss as he topped the leaderboard.

“I felt for Miles right away. It’s the cardinal mistake, and it has happened a few times. It could have been the French Open or the Spanish Open, but being in the last group and leading the Open Championship … it’s a terrible, terrible thought. “

Foster recounted how fate worked against Woosnam and Byrne that Sunday, from the Welshman who previously put a substitute driver on the range to refine his game to rumors that he was rushed to tee off – the first par three.

“Woosie played all week with only one driver in his pocket, one headgear. You’d think it was a little giveaway that there were two headgears.

“But Woosie washed it up on the range and his trainer Pete Cowen told Woosie to hit a couple of six irons before teeing off because Lytham unusually starts with a par three.”

Ian Woosnam (right) stands with his caddy Miles Byrne as he explains his mistake during the 2001 Open Championship finals at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

As they headed to the first hole, the last words Cowen apparently said to Byrne were, “Don’t forget to put the backup driver in the locker” before it all broke up.

“What do you do first at the first tee? You take off the headgear, ”said Foster.

“But the first in Lytham is a par 3. Miles has the bow of the pin, gives Woosie the number of meters, he hits a six-iron again, stone dead, birdie.

“He’s now leading the Open at 43, really his last chance, and I know Miles is two steps away from the first tee and saw the two drivers. And wanted to get sick and said, ‘Woosie, you’re going ballistic.’ “

This was followed by pictures of Woosnam furiously throwing the club into the bushes while Foster says he jumped over the fence onto the nearby train line.

“I would have stayed there and waited for three o’clock to come from Lytham and take my head off.

“It must have been the most terrible feeling, you’d never get over it, and I bet Miles never has it to this day, and neither has Woosie.”

“I thought so, but I didn’t say it”

It’s not always a bumpy road. Long-term partnerships like Jim “Bones” Mackay and Phil Mickelson flourished for 25 years, winning five majors between 2004 and 2013.

Or the unusual couple Andy Sutton and Ben Curtis at the 2003 Open – the duo met a week before the American Curtis became the first man since Ouimet to win a major on his first try.

The three-time major winner and captain of the European Ryder Cup 2021, Padraig Harrington and Ronan Flood, are another partnership that has stood the test of amateur champion Tsubasa Kajitani.

“Today’s caddy is called Chad, and Chad used to do caddy for some Japanese,” said the 17-year-old. “That’s why we just trust him.”

Mickelson hugs his caddy Jim "bone" Mackay after sinking his putt on the 18th hole to win the 2010 Masters.

A number of players have hired family members or friends as caddies since the coronavirus pandemic, and even before that, Rory McIlroy had taken friend Harry Diamond on his pocket. Dustin Johnson’s brother Austin is ready for both of the 37-year-old’s big titles.

Mickelson’s brother Tim was by the American’s side when the 51-year-old became the oldest major champion in May, and Brooke Henderson’s sister Brittany walked the fairways with the Canadian major winner.

A year ago, Sophia Popov’s professional golf buddy Max Mehles carried the Germans’ bag for her memorable triumph at the AIG Women’s Open in Troon, a favor that Popov returned in March when Mehles played in the PGA Tour Canada qualifier.

Former chairman of the European Tour Caddies Association and owner of Tour Caddies, Sean Russell, who was caddy for multiple winners Kenneth Ferrie and Diana Luna on the Ladies’ European Tour and the 2009 Solheim Cup, said the Covid rules are clearer Factor in the changing of the guard.

“When you spend a lot of time with someone, it’s better to be with a friend,” he told CNN Sport.

“I think Covid has accelerated the trend that was before: having a boyfriend, husband, wife on your pocket. Rory gets a lot of criticism in the ‘Twitter sphere’, but you won’t hear a single caddy say Harry is an evil one. ” Caddy – he’s really good. Lee Westwood and Helen too, I urge everyone to say they don’t look a good combination.

“I always say you can teach someone to be a caddy, but you can’t teach them to be your buddy.”

Russell has four key principles that he has always adhered to as a caddy: master the basics, be adaptable, get along with everyone, and have the ability to handle things.

“I think caddies have pretty thick skin, some more than others,” he said.

“When I was a caddy, the first question I asked the player was, ‘What do you hate about caddies or what do you hate about caddies?’

Jack Nicklaus and his caddy celebrate the birdie on the 15th hole en route to winning the 1966 Masters.

“The answer always varied from things like caddies saying, ‘I thought that but I didn’t say it’ or another player said he didn’t want caddies to be too defensive. For example, ‘When it’s six feet from the right is? of the green, we’re going to the needle. Don’t make me play to the left of it. ‘”

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Foster has one important piece of advice: choose your golf partner carefully.

“It’s 30 weeks a year, it’s more of a relationship than a marriage, so you have to be able to get along.

“The art of caddying is to be positive and to be committed to your responses. If the player asks a question, be prepared for it. I know the answer pretty well before he asks the question. “

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