Manchester City and Argentinean International footballer Carlos Tevez caused consternation at the Royal and Ancient when he was invited to caddy in the final round of the British Open for compatriot Andres Romero.
Was the footballer just carrying the bags, or did he have a more significant job to do?
In this article, we take a look at the important role of the pro’s caddy and the skills required to be one of the very best.
It may be unfair to suggest Tevez advice for his professional was not the best, however Romero’s final round 82 suggests that the famous footballer may not be quite so familiar with the multi-faceted role that the modern caddy is expected to fulfil.
Indeed, as one R&A observer noted, the fact that Tevez never put the golf bag down, even to the extent of walking across the greens with it still strapped to his back,clearly emphasised his lack of experience on the bag.
Yet some players have been dismissive over the years about the role of the caddy. The great Bobby Jones once said “If I needed advice from my caddie, he’d be hitting the shots and I’d be carrying the bag” and Dan Jenkins once remarked “If your caddy can help you, you don’t know how to play golf”.
Steve Williams and Adam Scott
So are caddies merely hired hands to help make light of carrying the load of clubs?
Not all players would agree and certainly modern caddies are held in high regard. The modern caddy is every bit as professional as the player he serves and it is not just the hawking of clubs, repairing of divots, raking of bunkers and quieting of spectators that sees them earn their cash.
A caddy also has to be a student of psychology. The best caddies will instinctively know when they need to gee up their professional, and when they need to keep quiet or calm them down.
In addition, they’ll have an innate understanding of their professional’s game. They’ll know the yardage they can hit every club in the bag (and some not even in the bag that week!), and perhaps even more importantly, they’ll have walked the course several times in preparation so that they can provide accurate yardages for their player.
Of course, not every caddy gets it right all the time and there have been some embarassing recent moments, such as the time recently when Jose Manuel Lara’s caddy realised at the second hole of the BMW International Open that he had 15 and not 14 clubs in the bag.
Lara was disqualified when his caddy attempted to “lose” the extra club in a bush on the 2nd hole but was discovered doing so by fellow tour players.
British Open fans will also remember the time when Ian Woosnam’s caddy realised he had left an extra club in the bag after the first hole of the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Woosnam, who was in contention for the title at the time, never regained the momentum after that.
Yet for all their critics and mistakes, it is clear caddies play an important role for the professional and perhaps this is best explained by Fuzzy Zoeller who, after winning the 1979 Masters at Augusta stated:
“I never had any thought the whole week. I figured my caddie (Jerry Beard) knew the course a lot better than me, so I put out my hand and played whatever club he put in it. I’d say “How hard do I hit it?” He’d tell me and I’d swing. The guys who come down once a year and try to get smart with Mr Jones’ course are the dumb ones.”
Pictures Courtesy of Gorilla Golf, The Open Facebook Page