Wednesday, October 28 2020


When it’s time to split

Update: September, 17/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

by Robert Bicknell

Divorce. Separation. Dividing of assets. Battles in the courts and public media. Humiliation, embarrassment and finger pointing. These are all terrible repercussions which happen far too often when two people split up.

No, not me. I am talking about when a Tour player dumps his caddie.

There are some players who would actually consider dumping their wife before losing their caddie, and there are players who regard caddies as disposable.

OK, before you snort coffee out of your nose and point your finger at me as one who considers caddies to be disposable, think again. There are some excellent caddies here in Việt Nam. Unfortunately, I never seem to get them except once in a blue moon.

Also, the players expectations of a caddie differ greatly between what a normal amateur weekend player wants, and what a professional wants. A great caddie can deliver both, but most cannot. If they are beautiful and not trip over the player, sometimes that’s good enough for many.

My criteria is more simple and based mostly on the “four ups” that most caddies are taught, but usually forget after the first month:

Show up, Keep up and Shut up. They should also “Bone up” – meaning they should know the greens and yardages – It’s the caddie’s home course. He/she should know distances from every place out there. Not knowing the putting lines is a cardinal sin.

There is nothing that irritates me more than a caddie who violates these basic rules of caddying. I know what I want to do out there. Sometimes I need a second opinion, but most times I have a general feel for it myself. The more you play a course, the less outside information you need.

Give me a caddie who knows the greens, walks fast and doesn’t try to pick my clubs and I am happy. Is that too much to ask for?

I do agree that I can be a real asshole at times. My bad. But hey, I tip well.

On the Tour, things are a bit different. Almost all of those caddies know what they are doing out there. They know the courses backwards and forwards, they know their players and what they like and don’t like.

It’s really like a marriage. A player and a caddie is a partnership. Both rely on each other to strengthen each other’s weaknesses.

But sometimes, like any marriage, it begins to fray around the edges, especially when put under severe pressure. I am not talking about pressure as in leading a tournament, but pressure as in “player cannot score to save his life”.

Many players will change caddies because the “feel” isn’t good. They just don’t match up well. Others will change the caddie hoping it will change their luck. Yes, some caddies seem to be luckier than others – or so it seems.

Other times a caddie gets dumped for different reasons…

Tiger Woods had dumped caddie Steve Williams after an amazing run together. The reasons where varied depending on who you asked, but the consensus was Tiger felt Williams didn’t support him enough during his scandal. Williams, on the other hand, said he felt betrayed by Tiger’s actions.

Tiger has always been a control freak when it came to information, which is why his public unmasking became such a shocker. Previously, very few knew what went on behind closed doors.

Their social media meltdown was as nasty as any Hollywood divorce.

Tiger had previously sacked caddie Fluff Cowan. The rumor was Fluff was becoming too much of a celebrity and that caused a distraction.  Most likely it was Tiger reminding everyone that “he was the star” and everyone else is background noise at best.

Phil Mickelson parted ways with Jim “Bones” Mackay after 25 years and 42 PGA Tour wins. No reason was given, but Mickelson put his brother Tim on the bag. Mackay is preparing to be inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame and now does TV with the Golf Channel.

To me, this says that Phil is going to “phone it in” for the next few years. He made his pile, now he’s going to play the game for fun more than anything else, and let his long time partner, Mackay, go make a pile of his own.

Nothing wrong with that… VNS


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