Caddie Confessions: What we learned from Golf Magazine’s poll of Tour caddies

December 2, 2011

More than 70 percent of PGA Tour caddies have earned six figures in a season. The majority has witnessed a Tour pro cheating. And half of them say they wouldn’t have left Dustin Johnson to work for Tiger Woods. From the trivial (one strap or two?) to the titillating (caddie groupies!), here’s what else we learned in a revealing poll of 50 PGA Tour caddies.

Joe LaCava caused a stir in August when he left Dustin Johnson's bag to work for Tiger Woods. If you were LaCava, what would you have done?
Stuck with Johnson: 50%
Defected to Woods: 48%
Don't know: 2%

"If Tiger plans to stay with [Sean] Foley, I'd stay with D.J."

"I'm in my 60s with grandkids. If you caddie for Tiger, you'll play fewer events and make the same money, so I'd choose him."

"I'd have gone to Tiger in a heartbeat. I want to know how good I am as a caddie. I want to see a caddie take a player to a place he has been or should be. It will be a great test to see Joe get Tiger back to where he was."

Is Steve Williams overrated?
Yes: 50%
No: 46%
Don't know: 2%
Just overpaid: 2%

"He's proving with Adam [Scott] that he's worth something. But you can't go around making statements about how good you are on camera like he did. That's a no-no. Give your player all the credit, all the time."

"Anyone who says that Steve Williams is overrated is just jealous."

Have you ever been hit on or propositioned by a female fan?
Yes: 52%
No: 48%

"Oh, yeah, and I've taken them up on it, too."

"Yes — and by my boss when I worked on the ladies' tour, which I took her up on. But you learna good lesson there."

"No, but it's my Penthouse fantasy."

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Fifty-two percent of caddies polled say they have been propositioned by a female fan.

Have you ever witnessed a Tour pro cheating in a Tour event?
Yes: 54%
No: 44%
No comment: 2%

Politically, do you lean left or right?
Right: 50%
Left: 24%
Middle/depends: 16%
I don't vote: 10%

"Politically I lean toward the right, although you should never ask a caddiefor political advice."

"I'm so far right I'm almost around the other side."

Which Tour course has the toughest greens to read?
Augusta National: 14%
CordeValle ( Open): 8%
Montreux G&CC (Reno-Tahoe Open): 8%
Kapalua (Hyundai Tournament of Champions): 8%
Riviera (Northern Trust Open): 8%
Pebble Beach: 6%
TPC Summerlin (Justin Timberlake Shriners Open):
Others receiving votes: Waialae CC; Torrey Pines; Firestone South; Harbour Town; PGA West; PGA National; Shaughnessy G&CC; Doral; TPC San Antonio; TPC Sawgrass

"Augusta, because you don't read 'em, you memorize 'em."

"San Antonio's are impossible — they're the most poorly designed greens ever."

Caddie, Augusta National

John W. McDonough/SI
"Augusta [has the hardest greens to read], because you don't read 'em, you memorize 'em."

Which Tour course leaves you the most exhausted after four days on the job?
Montreux G&CC: 32%
Kapalua: 22%
CordeValle: 14%
None of them: 12%
Every one of them: 6%
Others receiving votes: Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, TPC Deere Run, PGA National, Annandale Golf Club

"Reno is tough because it's hilly and you've got the thin air."

"Kapalua is a ridiculous walk, but John Deere and Mississippi have treacherous heat, which can be tough for four days."

Are caddies generally underpaid, overpaid, or is your compensation about right for what you do?
Overpaid: 10%
Underpaid: 26%
Depends on the player: 20%
About right/grateful: 44%

"I honestly feel it's generous to make the amount we do."

"Overpaid. Haveyou guys ever had a real job?"

"I'm comfortable with it. I can't make that amount anywhere else."

Which player-caddie relationship do you most admire?
Phil Mickelson and Jim (Bones) Mackay: 46%
Jim Furyk and Mike (Fluff) Cowan: 12%

"You've got to go with Phil and Bones. They've been at it for so long, and you know each guy really respects what the other one does."

"The best ever was Tom Watson and Bruce Edwards."

Phil Mickelson and Jim Mackay

Robert Beck/SI
Forty-six percent of caddies say the player-caddie relationship they most admire is Phil Mickelson and Jim Mackay.

If you could work for any player for one major, who and where would you pick?
Tiger Woods at the Masters: 46%
Phil Mickelson at the Masters: 10%

"Payne Stewart at the U.S. Open. We had two wins, two seconds and I don't know how many other top 10s. [Stewart had three other career top-10 finishes.] He was a U.S. Open player."  —  Mike Hicks

Have you ever made $100,000 or more in a single year?
Yes: 78%
No: 22%

"I made $186,000 in my guy's rookie year, and I made $100,000 of that in three weeks. He didn't even win a tournament."

Do you prefer the single or double strap for your player's bag?
Double: 72%
Single: 28%

Do you make it a point to read the local rules at every event?
Yes: 70%
No: 30%

"I glance over them before folding them up and putting them in the bag, where they stay until I typically throw them out without them ever being useful."

Do you have a college degree?
Yes: 50%
No: 50%

"I've got two of them: political science and computer science."

"I went to N.C. State for a semester and planned on taking a semester off. Here I am 31 years later. I planned on going back. Really."