The importance of a caddie’s role has perhaps never been more evident than at this year’s Open Championship.
On Thursday, it was J.P. Fitzgerald receiving high praise from Rory McIlroy after giving him a kick up the backside when he was five-over-par after six holes. “You’re Rory McIlroy, what the f**k are you doing?” he said. McIlroy responded by finishing his round one-over-par and the tournament on five-under-par in T4.
On Saturday, it was Zack Rasego, caddie for Branden Grace. The South African had no idea he was on the cusp of creating men’s major history with a round of 62 and Rasego made sure it stayed that way, instead telling Grace, “You’ve just made history”, after the final putt dropped.
And finally, on Sunday, it was Michael Greller whose inspirational words helped Jordan Spieth bounce back from three bogeys in his first four holes and put him en route to his maiden Open title.
But what was it that Greller said to Spieth, who now has the opportunity to complete the career grand slam at the PGA Championship in three weeks’ time? Well, it relates to the picture above, where Spieth holidayed in Cabo alongside Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps – the two greatest in their respective sports.
“Michael [his caddie] did a great thing today,” began Spieth. “On the seventh tee box, he said, ‘Do you remember that group you were with in Cabo last week? You belong in that. You’re that calibre of athlete and I need you to believe that right now because you’re in a great position in this tournament. This is a new tournament. We’re starting over here’.
“It changed me a bit mentally. I thought about it while I was over some of those key three-four footers that I made on seven and eight and then the ten-footers on 11, 12 – then all of a sudden the lid came off.
“I thought it was so well said. It was just at the right time and I’ll never forget what he told me, when he told me and the significance it had.”