It’s been the talk of the tour for months.
Players who replace their experienced, long-standing caddie with a pal or relative who has never really looked at a yardage book or toted a tour bag.
Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day are amongst those to have done so in the last year.
But is it a good idea to mix business with pleasure? Two of our team weigh in with their own thoughts…
YES, says Martin Inglis
A few months into 2018 and, already, there have been four high-profile wins from players with a mate or significant other on the bag. If that doesn’t tell you the role of a professional caddie is overstated, what will?
Take one of the most recent of these wins: Phil Mickelson in Mexico. He split with ‘Bones’ last June and brought brother Tim onboard. After just eight months together, Mickelson had his hands on a trophy for the first time in four-and-a-half years.
Then there’s Dustin Johnson who, in 2013, drafted in his brother, Austin. In their first event as a duo, Johnson won the WGC-HSBC Champions – the biggest win of his career at that point. The American has since ascended to world No.1, crediting Austin’s influence in that. “You travel and spend all day with your caddie,” he said. “It needs to be someone you like and trust.”
Meanwhile, Jason Day stuck pal Rika Batibasaga, above, on the bag as a one-off at the Farmers Insurance Open – and won – while Chris Paisley won his maiden European Tour title with wife Keri on the bag. She said she knew little about a caddie’s duties - but played a vital role in providing support. These cases show that a positive personal relationship often outweighs a professional one.
NO, says David Cunninghame
The history of golf is littered with great player-caddie partnerships. Mackay & Mickelson, Sunesson & Faldo, Williams & Woods and Argea & Nicklaus to name but a few.
These partnerships account for dozens of major championships and countless tour wins. I would like to point out that none of these caddies were given the job because they were good mates with the golfer. No, they were hired to do a job. They were hired to help their employer play to their best.
We don’t need to flick through the history books though to prove my point. The vast majority of players across global tours have a professional looper on the bag, and for good reason.
One recent example would be Eddie Pepperell, who claimed his maiden European Tour title at the end of February. He was full of praise for caddie Mick Doran, pictured above with Pepperell.
“He proved to me that a caddie can really make a difference when it matters most,” he said. “Mick’s desire to be a great caddie is having a positive effect on my own career in terms of staying motivated.”
If, after spending a few years out on the golf course, working closely together, player and caddie become friends, so be it, but I believe golfers should hire the best man for the job first and foremost.
What are your thoughts?
Where do you stand on this debate? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section below.