When Tiger Woods announced a step back from the game in August 2015, it wasn’t just him who would be out of a job: What would be the fate of long-time caddie Joe LaCava?
Luckily for LaCava, his boss was understanding in more ways than one. Speaking with The New York Times, LaCava said Woods has looked after him from Day 1 until the 14-time major winner’s return.
While he didn’t go in to financial specifics, LaCava and Woods had an understanding that LaCava could caddie for other players if he so chose. But ever the loyal companion, LaCava, who helped Woods to nine victories, never strayed, just in case his boss came back early.
“It’s hard to tell a guy, ‘Look, I’m going to come out here, but Tiger might call me next week and I’ll be back at it, because when Tiger comes calling I’m going to go back to work for him,'” LaCava told the Times. “That’s just not the right thing to do. So I wasn’t going to go work for anyone else.”
Instead, LaCava took some time off. He spent time with both of his kids and tried to keep himself busy on the weekends (only sometimes watching golf).
LaCava’s faith in Woods hasn’t wavered, despite Woods’ multiple back surgeries and points of discouragement. Having carried Fred Couples’ bag for years and having witnessed Couples’ similar injuries, LaCava was optimistic Woods would eventually get back on the course.
“(Couples) was able to play. He never felt great, and he was never the same after he hurt (his back), but he also had success after he hurt it,” LaCava said. “Nobody’s as determined as Tiger, and I figured if Fred could fight through it, so could Tiger.”
Woods, with LaCava by his side, returned to professional play this week at the Hero World Challenge, where he shot a one-over 73 his first round back. He tees off at 11:12 a.m. Friday for Round 2.