Dustin Johnson announced this week at the HP Byron Nelson tournament that Joe LaCava will be his new full time caddie. Joe is one of the more famous caddies in the world of professional golf as he was the long time caddie for veteran golfer Fred Couples. Now that Fred is on the Senior Tour and playing a limited schedule due to continuous back issues, it was probably a good time to make the switch for LaCava. Fred and Joe have been one of the more famous player/caddie duos in the world of professional golf over the past twenty years. Because of that Joe LaCava has become synonymous with Professional Golf.
I think this is a great move for both Dustin and Joe. Dustin gets one of the best caddies in the world and Joe gets to work on the bag of a young, rising star on the PGA Tour. As Dustin is a young, rising star on tour, you have to think that having a veteran caddie on the bag like LaCava is going to benefit him tremendously. Not only does LaCava know most of the golf courses the Tour plays, he is used to working on the bag of a champion. While working with Fred Couples, LaCava won many golf tournaments including the Masters. Joe is an experienced caddie who knows the game, how to manage his player and is experienced in winning golf tournaments.
I already know what you are thinking. The caddie is not hitting the shots coming down the stretch trying to win a golf tournament so, how is he involved in winning. I say this because the caddies are trying to win the event just as the players are. They know if they provide a poor read on the greens or give a bad yardage it will impact the outcome. Should they make a mistake in the heat of the moment they will get their fair share of the blame should the player lose. Also, most Tour players reward their caddies with 10% of the purse when they win or 7% for weeks when they do not win. So, there is a financial impact on the caddie as well as, the player. With this said, having LaCava is only going to help develop Johnson and provide him with an experienced “Looper” who can help him develop as a player and win more often.
Over the years, there have been a few other notable player/caddie partnerships on tour. A few that come to mind are; Greg Norman and Tony Navarro, Phil Mickelson and Jim “Bones” MacKay, Jim Furyk and Mike “Fluff” Cowan, Tiger Woods and “Stevie”, Tom Watson and Bruce Edwards, Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunneson, Tom Lehman and Andy Martinez just to name a few.
You may also want to read my post in August of last year titled “The Caddy”.
How important do you think the caddie is? Who are some other famous player/caddie relationships can you think of?