Twenty Questions: Martin Gray

Martin Gray, formerly caddie to Thomas Bjorn and now with Lee Westwood goes under the spotlight...

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Martin Park
Tue, 5 Dec 2000

Twenty Questions: Martin Gray

MARTIN GRAY

PLAYER: Lee Westwood

How did you start caddying on tour?
I went to watch the 1988 Ladies Open at Lindrick and ended up caddying for an Amateur, Nicola Way, Paul Way's sister. I was working in the mines near Worksop then. When I saw what she would have earned as a professional, I decided to make a go of it. I got a government grant from 'Maggie' and went for it.

Westwood, Gray’s new boss

Who was your first employer?
I caddied for Chris Gray, the professional at Lindrick.

What was your first paycheque worth?
£200 for the week.

What was the biggest mistake that you have ever made, and what were the repercussions?
In my first year, I caddied for Paul Kent. I gave him a wrong yardage and he flew the green with a nine iron. He looked at my book and said," It would have been right if it was the first hole, but this is the tenth." The nines had been reversed and I forgot to change the book around. He chewed my ears about it but it is all part of the learning curve.

What is your favourite event/venue?
The Open Championship. I like links courses and it is a great week for everyone involved. The history behind the championship is interesting and I like the wildlife around the courses.

Which tour event offers the best social life in the evenings?
In America, The Masters is a great week. The Washington Road is like Blackpool at night with a half decent course at the end of it!

What is the best thing about being a caddy?
I don’t have to clock in. Each day is different and to be mercenary about it, I could make more money in one week than most of my friends do in a year.

What is the worst part?
If I have a bad week, I could lose four or five hundred pounds for one hundred hours work. Being away from home a lot takes its toll. I tend to bounce off the walls after three or four weeks.

What is your favourite drink?
Bitter, I am quite partial to the Stones Creamflow at Worksop golf club.

What was your proudest moment on tour?
Being part of the winning Ryder Cup team at Valderrama. It is different from tour events, it means so much more than a tournament win.

What is the most important decision that you and your boss have ever made?
At the 17th hole at Valderrama in the final day singles, we (Thomas Bjorn) decided on hitting a soft pitching wedge instead of a hard sand iron. The sand iron would have spun back into the water. He fired it to five feet and made the putt to go one up against Leonard. I didn't think that he could hit a wedge so soft. It goes to show how good a player that he is.

Have you ever been sacked?
Lots of times. There can't be a caddy out here that has never been sacked. They are lying if they tell you otherwise.

Do you play golf?
Yes, I play off seven.

How do you feel when your boss takes his frustrations out on you?
Frustrated!!

If you could caddy for any player throughout history, whom would you choose?
Tiger Woods. He has an awesome golf game. I have been with him a couple of times at the Masters and in Thailand. I would love to caddy for him.

Which caddy is the best golfer on tour?
There are a few assistant pros' here; the South Africans are useful.

What is the funniest thing that you have ever seen on tour?
When Billy (Foster) and I fell in the lake at Valderrama, I just managed to get Thomas' clubs off my shoulder. We got a good ribbing after that.

What is your most embarrassing moment on tour?
I had an argument with Seve at La Moreleja. I dumped the bag in the middle of the course after we had a row. There were many people around and I was so embarrassed. What was said, had to be said. It was loud and humiliating. I got my watch and wallet out of the bag and told him to find another caddy. We are ok now though.

You are on the final hole of a major and in contention, what would you say to your player?
I wouldn't say a lot. I could not calm him down, he would have to calm me down, I get excited sometimes.

What is your nickname and why?
BJ. Russell Claydon's caddy is known as Jaws because he eats a lot. I am a little smaller but I can eat just as much as him so they call me 'Baby Jaws' or BJ.

Have you ever been tempted to laugh if a player in your group makes an error?
Many times. If it is funny, then I will laugh. The players see the funny side of most of the time.