I’m a huge fan of the behind the scenes people in everyday life. So many people in this world never receive the full recognition they deserve, but most of these people also don’t want the light shining on them anyway. I grew up caddying as a kid. I used to caddy a bit in the summer when I was in high school for a University of Oregon player named Steve Rintoul, who is now a PGA Tour rules official, when he played local amateur events. I was fortunate to caddy for Steve Elkington in a Champions Tour event in Seattle a few summers ago. The PGA Tour caddy is truly a professional. The work looks like a grind, long hours, physically challenging, mentally exhausting, and stressful would be my guess. I doubt any have contracts that guarantee pay if they get fired. It appears the PGA Tour wouldn’t cross the street to help them out. I have heard some horrible stories of how tournaments treat them with regards to facilities (metal tent to hide under during a lightening delay), no entrance into clubhouses, having to park well offsite, etc. I don’t know many caddies but I’m guessing I’d enjoy hanging with them in the caddy tent more than hanging out in the clubhouse with big wigs.
I hope you enjoy the following Q&A with a PGA Tour caddy who asked that I not use his name due to several outstanding warrants for his arrest (just kidding).
1. How did you get into caddying on Tour?
I started caddying when a young pro I played amateur golf with asked me if I would.
2. On a scale of 1-10 how are caddies treated on tour?
Caddie treatment differs. The good people who care treat us fabulous. Can't scale it
3. I've always been curious how a caddy arranges his schedule. Do you sent up flights, hotels, etc well in advance or is it week to week?
Travel schedule is a pain in the ass. I try to book as many rooms as possible in advance. Flights are usually very easy to find as are rental cars, but you're always looking for a better price. PGA Tour travel is very helpful as well.
4. At the Tour level the players cannot allow themselves to let doubt creep in, does a caddy take the brunt of blame when things go wrong?
Depends on the player. The best players are accountable for their game. He tries to play without mistakes and I try to caddy without mistakes. You both know who made the mistake.
5. Physically carrying those big staff bags has to take a toll on the body, do you do anything in the off season to keep your body from breaking down?
Taking care of your body is the most important thing you can do. Eat healthy and always be doing activity and working out. During season and off season.
6. Do caddies still share rooms/expenses these days? Or is it more like the players these days were you're more on your own?
Some caddies share rooms some don't. Some stops are much more expensive and it's nice to save a bit. Houses are commonly shared.
7. Funniest thing that ever happened to you on the course?
Funniest thing to happen on the course... I'm hoping something funny happens soon.
8. Player you respect the most for his professionalism?
9. Do swing coaches try to use caddies to get inside info on their player, in a good way?
Cannot speak for all, but my man, his coach and I are always communicating during practice.
10. Have you ever been late to a tournament round? If so how did that go?
I have never been late to a round. Cut it to under a minute once to the tee. He was not happy, coach was very happy he didn't have to carry.
11. Do most players carry too much gear in their bags?
Most players carry way to much gear. Some are straight mental when it comes to what needs to be in a golf bag, but they pay you to carry their stuff, so...
12. Has the heckling gotten worse since when you first started on tour?
Heckling comes and goes. Some places are much worse than others for sure. I don't care. It's usually funny as hell. I'm not sure the level has changed.
13. Best and worst thing about being a caddy on Tour?
Best thing about being a caddy is being in contention. The worst thing is everything else.
14. What are the typical expenses in a full year?
50-90K depending on overseas travel.
15. Funniest player on Tour?
Not many are funny. Appleby, Gore, Kuch, Dufner, and Knost are pretty funny.
16. Are you a grab the flag on 18 if your player wins guy?
The Flag is our trophy. Have to get it.