15.3 C
Dublin
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
- Advertisement -

Who’d be a caddie? 

Must read

The story of the golf ball

How many of us have considered with any degree of depth the playing properties and evolution of the humble golf ball?

Thomas amongst the standout performers from The Match II

Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!

Learning from the pros

We can all learn a thing or two by watching the pros in person. Just a shame that spectator-free events make such opportunities unlikely this year

The honest truth about dishonesty

"If golfers want to abuse the system, there is always a way of doing so. It's just the fact that they can get away with it and are not punished when 'rumbled' that is so annoying"

Who knew caddies were so important? 2019 and despite a litany of technological advancements that not even ‘Back to the Future’ creator, Robert Zemeckis could envisage in 1985, the Sherpas of the fairways are relied upon now more than ever. Setting out on reconnaissance missions days before their charge arrives to the course to ensure not a step is wasted come game day, a caddie gets to grips with prevailing winds, green speeds, spots to miss and turf to kiss; recording each nugget of intricate detail in an invaluable notebook of work for their boss to scrutinise with a fine comb later. Who’d want to be a caddie, you ask? 

Take one of the bagmen to enter the spotlight after the US Open; Michael Greller, Jordan Spieth’s caddie. Golf fans around the world were left outraged after an exchange between the pair was picked up by a nosey microphone. 

“Two perfect shots, Michael,” Spieth bemoaned after his four-iron tee shot on the par-4 eighth ran out of fairway and found the Pacific Ocean before his third shot approach airmailed the green. “You got me in the water on one and over the green on the other.” 

With the internet in uproar, the messages flooded in asking Spieth, who presumably enjoys reading the comments under his videos as much as I do my articles, if it was Greller with club in hand when the shots went astray? In the armchair pundits’ defence, ultimately, the final call will always fall on the player, but there’s no doubt Greller’s culpable here too.  

When it comes to Spieth’s numbers, every shot has an exact end point. Be it the stock swing, the three-quarter wedge, the stingerit’s Greller who gives the yardage and the formula for finding the right distance. Sure, there are sometimes variables at play with switching winds and flier lies, but in this equation, Greller is Rain Man, and Rain Man needs to be right. 

“When you hit a couple of shots exactly where you want to, and one’s in the water and the other’s dead over the green, I’m gonna be frustrated that, as a team, we didn’t figure out how to make sure that didn’t happen,” Spieth explained afterwards. 

“I may have looked like the bad guy but my intentions there were that we should have been in play if the ball is hit solidly and I was out of play on both shots.” 

When the pressure cranks in golf; it does so upon one man’s head – the player, and unfortunately for the caddie, he/she will always be the fall guy, the stress ball for times of trouble, even when the blame lies elsewhere. So, why be a caddie? 

Well, Michael Greller was a Maths teacher in 2011 earning $55,000 a year in Seattle. Caddying as a hobby on the side, Greller got a call to carry the bag of an upandcoming talent named Jordan Spieth in the US Junior Amateur. Sure enough, Spieth won. Eight years later and Greller has guided Spieth to over $40million in prize money, of which he’s taken home at least 10%. Get the right bag and who wouldn’t want to be a caddie? Steve Williams was the richest sportsman in New Zealand when he worked for Tiger Woods; he took home nearly $10million in a dozen years. And he deserved it too. 

No matter how far the technology within the game develops, a computer will never be able to do the job of a caddie. It’s personal and as much as it’s about providing yardages and course knowledge, it’s more about offering emotional comfort and support to a high-strung golfer often in need.  

That said, it’s an intense relationship that regularly comes with an expiry date; think McIlroy and JP Fitzgerald or Lowry and Dermot Byrne, but that’s just part and parcel of the environment. McIlroy’s moved on with best man Harry Diamond and the results of a fresh dynamic have been irrefutable with wins arriving at The Players and in Canada, while Lowry’s rise up the world rankings shows no signs of stopping with new bag man, Bo Martin at the helm. 

Still, in the caddie game, although cut-throat, a good guide will always find work – just look at JP. The man who guided McIlroy to his four Major wins over the best part of a decadereturned to the PGA Tour at June’s Travelers tournament partnering NCAA Champion, Matthew Wolff on his professional debut. The 20-year old is an Oklahoma State graduate with a unique but most athletic swing and a bubbling personality sure to make him an instant hit with the fans. Whether he can prove an instant hit with JP’s pocket remains to be seen but Fitzgerald’s guidance should prove invaluable as one of the most exciting talents in the game turns his hand to the pro ranks. Watch this space! 

New Gear

Get to grips with Golf Pride online

With restrictions still widespread, Golfers can find the perfect golf grip digitally with the Golf Pride online Grip Selector tool, offering us access to the company's most extensive ever range

Free GPS App from Bushnell Golf gets a massive upgrade

Free to download for all Bushnell Golf product owners, the new App provides access to state-of-the-art graphics and technology designed to further enhance a golfer's experience on the course

TaylorMade unveil timely MyMG2 personalised wedges

New custom wedge programme offers thousands of combinations to personalise the company’s latest wedge offerings

Golf needs its Putt Buddy now more than ever

An Irish company, run by Irish golfers have enlisted the help of Irish manufacturers to produce a stainless steel product that allows the ball to be removed from the hole without touching the flagstick

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

The Devil inside her

After her college career came to an anticlimactic end because of Covid-19, Olivia Mehaffey has decided to resurrect it, signing up for one more year at Arizona State

The story of the golf ball

How many of us have considered with any degree of depth the playing properties and evolution of the humble golf ball?

Thomas amongst the standout performers from The Match II

Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!

Lowry confirms return for seven of first nine PGA Tour events

Open Champion Shane Lowry is preparing himself for a busy summer with the proposed PGA Tour restart now only a couple of weeks away

Learning from the pros

We can all learn a thing or two by watching the pros in person. Just a shame that spectator-free events make such opportunities unlikely this year