This week's Sony Open in Hawaii marks Jim 'Bones' Mackay's first caddying gig for seven months.
Bones hadn't been on a bag since his shock split from Phil Mickelson in June after 25 years and five majors won together but at Waialae Country Club, he is caddying for 2017 US PGA champion and last year's Player of the Year Justin Thomas.
The reason? Thomas’ normal caddie, Jimmy Johnson, was sidelined last week with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Johnson was replaced on the weekend at the Sentry Tournament of Champions by his father, Mike (below).
With both events in Hawaii and Bones already on the island state in his role as an analyst and on-course reporter for Golf Channel, it's a logical move for Thomas to draft Bones in.
“It's really kind of a first day of school kind of thing," said Thomas. "These last two days we've tried to get comfortable with each other and he's tried to get an understanding of what I like and the shots I like to hit and things that I see before he kind of starts, not interjecting, but being able to make suggestions with confidence.”
But if you think this could be the start of a new long-term player-caddie partnership, Thomas offered assurances that this is most definitely a one-week arrangement.
“Jimmy should hopefully have enough time to get better,” added Thomas, who will draft in putting coach Matt Killen at February's Waste Management Phoenix Open should Johnson not be fully recovered.
“But at the same time, if he doesn't, he needs to take the time off, and I'll go from there. But as of now, that's the plan.”