We are all familiar with the phrase “behind every good man is an even better woman”. Well I think it’s time someone introduced a new variation of that phrase in the form of ” behind every good golfer is a world class caddie”.
In sport there are few relationships that are closer than that of golfer and caddie. In my opinion, it is the relationship goes beyond symbiosis, as they are often nothing without each other, especially in the modern game.
Late last week, news emerged that Rory McIlroy and his caddie of nine years JP Fitzgerald were splitting up. This came as a shock to so many as Fitzgerald had been the Ulsterman’s caddie throughout his whole professional career.
In the wake of this, we take a look at some of the best relationship between golfers and their caddie’s in recent times – and their subsequent demise.
Ernie Els and Ricci Roberts
Described by many as the Liz Taylor and Richard Burton due to their numerous break-ups and make-ups, Els and Roberts have had one of the most tumultuous relationships in the sport’s history.
The so-called “Big Easy” said of his break ups with Roberts, according to golf.com:
“After the third time, we stopped counting.
“Sometimes it was a pure frustration thing, and other times it was health and injury-related. There were a couple of pure firings.
“But we’re like family. He was with me when his first child was born.”
In return Roberts, who estimates he has partnered Els for “about 58” of his 70 career wins joked:
“I’ve had more comebacks than Sinatra”
Tiger Woods and Steve Williams
Woods and Williams had one of the most successful relationships in the history of golf, winning 13 out of Tiger’s total of 14 majors together and 84 tournaments in total.
However after there 13-year partnership ended in 2011, their relationship has soured, as Williams stated in his autobiography Out of the Rough that he was treated poorly by the former world number one.
In one excerpt the book he stated:
“One thing that really pissed me off was how he would flippantly toss a club in the general direction of the bag, expecting me to go over and pick it up. I felt uneasy about bending down to pick up his discarded club – it was like I was his slave.”
Willliams went on to caddie for Australian Adam Scott.
Phil Mickelson and Jim “Bones” Mackay
No list of caddie and golfer relationships would be complete with the inclusion of Mickelson and “Bones”.
Mackay partnered the former world number two for 25 years, over which time Mickelson claimed 41 of his 42 PGA Tour wins, all five major championship victories.
He also carried the bag in eleven Ryder Cups and eleven Presidents Cups.
They also finished runners-up in the US Open a record six times, as well as five other seconds and seven thirds in majors.
However unlike other relationships breaking down in this article, it would appear that the two had a more amicable split.
Mickelson said of Mackay:
“Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it’s the right time for change. Bones is one of the most knowledgeable and dedicated caddie in the world…My relationship and history with Bones far exceeds golf.
“He has been one of the most important and special people in my life since the day we met, and I will always be grateful for everything he has done for me.
“Amy (Mickelson’s wife) and I, and our children, will always think of Bones, Jen, Oliver, and Emma (Mackay’s wife and children) as family.”
“We are looking forward to sharing life and friendship with them forever.”
Michael Keaveny, Pundit Arena