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Tiger Woods might be out of action indefinitely but his caddie is back at work on the PGA Tour this week.

The 15-time major champion’s long-time looper Joe LaCava has agreed to work for Steve Stricker at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Stricker, 56, is partnered with Zach Johnson, his successor as captain of the US Ryder Cup team, at TPC Louisiana.

With Woods facing another extended period on the sidelines following foot surgery in New York earlier today, Stricker has turned to LaCava to help him out this week.

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“It’s a little bit of a longer story than what it needs to be probably,” said Stricker. “I asked his son first. I’ve had his son on my bag already this year. Delightful kid, Joe Jr. But he’s working on the Korn Ferry Tour for Brandon Hagy the next couple weeks and he couldn’t make it.”

Initially, Stricker doubted Joe Snr would be interested in helping out.

“I didn’t think he’d want to come,” he said. “Sixty-five-year-old guy, washed up tour player. Does he really want to come all the way from New York down to New Orleans?

“So my thinking went away from Joe Sr. right away. I’m like, he’s not going to want to come here. I asked a bunch of other guys and nobody could make it.”

Finally, at the insistence of his wife, Stricker turned to LaCava.

“He was like, oh, heck, yeah, I’ll come. I should have asked him right after I asked his kid, and now he’s upset I asked his kid first.

“He’s such a great guy, fun to be with, easy to be with. Obviously, very good at what he does. We’ve been having fun with him so far.

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“He’s friend with Zach and Zach’s caddie, Brian Smith, so, from his standpoint, I think it was an easy choice to come here.”

Stricker added that it’s just a one-week arrangement.

This is not the first time that LaCava has picked up another player’s bag since teaming up with Woods in 2011. In August 2021, he caddied for Patrick Cantlay at The Northern Trust when his regular looper was ruled out through COVID-19.

Two months earlier, he briefly reunited with former boss Fred Couples on the PGA Tour Champions.

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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