As some one who appreciates having a paycheck deposited in my bank account every other Friday, I have great respect for tour caddies.
They do way more than simply carry the bag, clean the clubs and rake bunkers. Much (most?) of their job is keeping their player in the right frame mind. Sometimes that means not letting the player get too excited and too fired up. Other times that means pumping the player’s tires and keeping them going. They also have to make sure the player doesn’t forget those key swing thoughts or make any dumb course-management decisions.
I only have a tiny bit of caddying experience. When I was in college, I looped for a really good local pro in a bunch of tournaments such as the Tapemark, State Open, etc. My job was helping to get yardages and by the end of the summer there was a little bit of trust built up. My player would ask my opinion on how much a putt would break or with club selection. It was hard work. You didn’t want to make a mistake or offer the wrong advice, but there was great satisfaction when things worked as planned.
It was a fun thing do for a summer in the early ’90s in addition to my golf course job. The stage wasn’t that big and the lights weren’t that bright. But it still gives me a little sympathy for tour caddies.
And this week has provided two examples of the hazards of the job.
1. It’s always the caddy’s fault. And they can be treated like garbage.
This, obviously, isn’t true. The caddy doesn’t make any swings. And it’s funny that the caddy doesn’t seem to get a lot of credit when the player makes a good swing.
Bubba Watson’s candid exchange with his caddy was caught on camera during last Sunday’s Travelers Championship final round. The video isn’t all that great for Bubba’s good ol’ boy, fun loving image.
2. The caddy’s job is always on the line
This has always been true. After all, a player can’t fire themselves.
Jessica Korda, a 20-year-old LPGA player, took that to the extreme at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open. Not only did she fire her caddy — a veteran LPGA looper — during the middle of the tournament, she did it during the middle of the third round.
I’m sure that she has all the answers at age 20. I have no doubt. (Insert eye-roll here)
It is a tough job being a tour caddy. One that I wouldn’t want.