Discuss: How much difference do caddies make?

Do they earn their pay cheque? We want to hear your opinion...

Charlie Lemay's picture
Tue, 6 May 2014
Discuss: How much difference do caddies make?

CADDIES, like players, come in all shapes and sizes and they conduct their business in a variety of ways.

Some like to have open dialogue with their boss throughout a round, making sure their mind in is the right place, while others will only pipe up if they are called upon.  

But the question is, how much difference does a good or bad caddie make? Can they win or lose you a tournament? Can they drag a player up the rankings and turn him into a champion? A 10 % slice of the player's victory winnings is a decent return (they also get 5% of the tournament and 7% for a top placement) but do they really warrant it?

It's a contentious issue and one that will surely get caddies hot under the collar, yet my argument would be that CADDIES ARE IMPORTANT.

When Adam Scott lined up a putt to win The Masters, he asked caddie Steve Williams for confirmation that the putt was a one-cup break left-to-right.

Williams shook his head and told him it would break more than he thought, at least two cups. The rest is history and Scott broke his major duck while Williams secured his 14th major win.

In this anecdote, the role of a caddie is being viewed through rose-tinted glasses without a doubt, but for me it highlights that a decent caddie can put you in the winners circle. Would a rookie caddie have been able to read such a putt and told his man what to do under that kind of pressure? I think not. 

It was no coincidence that Williams happened to be on Scott’s bag when the talented Aussie won his first major, and with the Kiwi ending his caddie career later this season, Scott will need to think carefully when it comes to choosing his next bagman in the off-season.

Not only do the best caddies offer up detailed analysis of the course, which almost anyone could do to a certain degree of competence, but they also control the emotions of their player.

In this sense, a good caddie has a certain set of skills which he or she has acquired over the years which sets apart the poor, average and best caddies. 

They need to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Get it wrong and they are chastised by players, fans and the media, but get it right and... well, it will probably just go unnoticed unfortunately.

Like any athlete, I believe that someone is born with the ability to be a good caddie and they have then worked on their craft. Williams, one of the most famous caddies of all time, started the profession at six years old and he prefers being on the bag than playing the game.

He might be unpopular with some, but there is no doubt he's honed his skills and has evolved into a spectacular caddie. Yes, he's constantly accused of being egotisticle, arrogant and rude but is he any worse than other superstar athletes? He has proven he's the best caddie in the world so it's inevitable he's going to have a slightly inflated view of himself. I will say that some of his actions have been indefensible, however, such as his racist comment towards Tiger being the prime example. Although taken slightly out of context, it did not need to be said.

If caddies weren't that important, would the Tour stars be so gracious as to hand out 10% of their winnings?

It's the same argument with sports agents. People say there is no need for them but would a footballer be able to broker a deal to another club - no because they do not have the expertise. It's a relationship which benefits both parties and the same can be said for caddies and players although caddies are actually in the ring trading punches, unlike sports agents. 

While it is too simple to say the best caddies are the ones that have been on the bags for the most victories, it is no coincidence that the best players share the best bagmen since they know what they can add to their arsenal. 

Let us know your comments below or tweet us @golfmagic