Billy Foster drops hilarious Ryder Cup tale, slams 'pathetic' pace of play!

Legendary tour caddie Billy Foster offers his thoughts on the Ryder Cup, LIV Golf, the DP World Tour, Tiger Woods, Matthew Fitzpatrick and golf's bifurcation plans. 

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 31 Mar 2023
Billy Foster drops hilarious Ryder Cup tale, slams 'pathetic' pace of play!

GolfMagic recently got the opportunity to chat to legendary tour caddie Billy Foster

You can read part one of our interview here in which the looper outlined some great anecdotes on Seve Ballesteros, Matthew Fitzpatrick and his thoughts on the forthcoming 2023 Masters

The white boilersuits are 'torture', according to Billy. 

Part two of our chat with the decorated caddie is below. 

Billy explains his thoughts on the LIV Golf, Europe's Ryder Cup chances, Tiger Woods, golf's bifurcation plans and why players need a kick up the arse to speed up their pace of play on tour. 

Oh, and don't even get him started on long putters and green reading books...

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Q. What do you make of the current landscape of golf now that LIV Golf are sort of establishing themselves?

"I can understand and I have no qualms with any of the players going. I can understand why they've gone.
"Their idea is to play less and for a lot more money. You can't blame the older lads, certainly the ones over 40.
"It's a bit of a shame for the game that you've lost a few top, top players and they're banned from the PGA Tour.
"That's a bit of a shame. We'll see. It might two or three years to work out.
"Will LIV be here forever? There's been no big-name signings this year. Will it last? If it does, it does.
"[With regards to] Westwood, Poulter, Garcia being [potentially] banned from being Ryder Cup captains, I think that's very sad because Garcia is the highest Ryder Cup points earner of all-time.
"Westy is a 10-time Cup player, Poults has been a legend and what they bring into the team room, the locker room, I just think it's sad.
"I would like to think they won't be banned but it's up to the powers that be. 
"Having done 15 Ryder Cups and [seen] what those lads have given to that team and [for] their legacy to be soured, I think it's a bit sad." 

Q. Have you heard any whispers about what the outcome for the DP World Tour v LIV Golf hearing will be?

"No idea at all. I don't think any of us have a clue. It's up to the powers that be. I've only got my opinion. It's a prickly subject, isn't it?" 

Q. You told Golf Digest last year you believed the DP World Tour was 'soulless'. Do you stand by those comments? If so, what can be done to resolve this?

"A lot of things have changed. Back in the day you had your Seves, Woosnams, Lyles and Faldos all supporting the European Tour and they came to America now and again. 
"Then you had the next breed with Westwood, Clarke, Garcia, Harrington, Montgomerie, they all supported the European Tour and went to America.
"It's all being driven by the PGA Tour. It used to be a January to November tour and now it's January to August.
"It's actually strangled the European Tour and now most of our best players have gone to live in America. 
"There's a lot smaller tournaments or empty tournaments in the summer. There used to be great national championships on the European Tour. 
"Now they go all over the world. It's not even called the European Tour anymore which breaks your heart as well.
"Yeah, it's tough for a lot of lads [as they are] playing for smaller purses. There's a few at the start of the year.
"It's not what it used to be which breaks my heart. Hopefully it can bounce back. COVID has been massive.
"There was a great run of tournaments and I don't see it that way anymore so I do stand by those comments." 

Q. Should the elevated events be brought to Europe?

"It would be nice to see. I'm sure the PGA Tour will try and keep it in house a bit.
"I'd just rather the European Tour make their own tournaments a bigger sell [rather than] rely on the PGA Tour." 

Q. What do you make of Tiger Woods' chances at The Masters?

"It's very difficult when you're playing two, three or four tournaments a year. If you do that as a boxer you're going to be ring rusty but Tiger is a different animal completely.
"You never rule him out. To this day you still think he can win out there. I just hope his leg gets stronger and [he can] get into a few more tournaments.
"Playing only three or four tournaments it's very hard to be match fit. But listen, it's Tiger Woods, he's the best that has ever lived in my opinion." 

Q . What's your favourite Tiger anecdote? 

"The well-documented one at the Ryder Cup. The old toilet story. That was quite funny. He's been a legend." 

Watch Lee Westwood explain this story: 

Q. Tell me about caddying for Tiger, did you ever manage to get in his head? 

"I got on with him really well. I worked very well with him that week. I thought he was an absolutely class gentleman and his manners were impeccable.
"It's Tiger, isn't it? You didn't have to tell Tiger too much. What separated him and Jack was their state of mind.
"That's why they have been the champions that they have been." 

Q. The Ryder Cup is right around the corner, what do you make of Europe's chances?

"It's the changing of the guard isn't it. You've lost McDowell, Stenson, Garcia, Westwood, Poulter.
"You've lost a lot of really good players and America have an influx of brilliant young players coming through.
"I think [from] what we saw at the last Ryder Cup there could be a period of dominance.
"Obviously, Europe have some brilliant players, but do they have 12? America could have 20 brilliant players.
"And that's even with losing Dustin, Bryson and Brooks. But, you never know.
"There might be a couple who come out playing great golf. America will be the favourites, though." 

Q. You've been to multiple Ryder Cups now. What are the best and worst things about it? 

"The best thing is it's the ultimate of the sport. The atmosphere. It's golf with a football crowd. It's like nothing you ever see.
"I don't think there is a worst thing about it, you just try and embrace it. There's no downside to it even if the crowd are against you.
"It gives you experience going forward. It's like a Clint Eastwood movie: The good, the bad and the ugly.
"You just try and man-up and get on with it. I think it's just a sensational event." 

Q. To what extent are the caddies are involved in the team?

[Laughing] Do you know this answer to this?
"I've got in trouble a couple of times for voicing my opinion to the captain about certain things and getting players dropped because it's the best for that team and the best for that player. 
"It happened with Darren Clarke in 2006 at the K Club. I went to Woosy, the captain, and I said Darren was not on his game and really struggling.
"I said you need to take him out and he brought Monty in to play with Westy. Clarkey got dropped and found out that I dobbed him in. He gave me a right mouthful and didn't speak to me for about 24 hours.
"But, it's one of those things, you're there as a team and you've got to say the right thing to protect the team.
"That's what makes a good team spirit. You can't be shying away from telling the truth because you're trying to do the best thing for your team mates.
"Golf is a very individual sport full of selfish people but when it comes to the Ryder Cup it's a completely different animal and you've got to be a band of brothers." 

Q. So it took him 24 hours to speak to you again?

"It was Saturday lunch time when I got into trouble and he found out.
"He came up to me and said, 'Did you say something to Woosy?' I said, 'No, No'.
"And he said, 'Well that's funny because Woosy has just come up to me and said sorry Darren you're not playing this afternoon because Billy said you're playing absolute s**te.
"I thought, well that weren't great was it. I just went up to him in the locker room on Sunday morning and said, 'Listen mate, I'm sorry. It was for the benefit of yourself and the benefit of the team and if you wanna sack me, sack me but let's go out and beat Zach Johnson and win the Ryder Cup and win it for Heather.' 
"Once we got on the golf course he started forgiving me a bit and he won his match and then by the tears he had forgiven me. But it was probably like a day-and-a-half of stony silence."

Q. Over the course of your career the players you've worked for have appear to be very mixed with their personalities. Seve, as we know, was very demanding. So who was the easiest?

"Lee Westwood, I'd say. 

Q. He always seemed very laid back, didn't he?

"Yeah, very laid back was Lee. It's a shame that he never got his major. He got to number one in the world and [sometimes] putted like Edward Scissorhands.
"He was a sensational player. It was a shame. He could've won about three or four majors without asking for too much.
"He was good to work for, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed all my jobs. There are some weird and wonderful characters in golf." 

Q. You alluded to this before, but what have you made about the plans to rollback the golf ball. Have you had any discussions with Matthew about this?

"I don't think Matt's overly bothered about it too much. He'll just get on with it. I know some guys have spoken out saying they like it or hate it.
"I can see both sides. The only thing I'd say, go back in the day, and you'd see a lot more shot-making. That seems to have disappeared and you don't see the great shot-makers anymore.
"Bubba Watson would be an exception to that rule, maybe Sergio...I'd like to see the ball spin more. It would reward the better golfers. What [technology] has done is bring the brilliant golfers and the good golfers so much closer together." 

Q. If there was one rule in golf you could change, what would it be?

"Tough one. I don't know about that. There's lots of rules. But listen, I'd make 'em player quicker. I'd certainly be chasing their arses around golf course. "
"Even at the Match Play it was taking four-and-a-half-hours for a two-ball. It's Match Play. It's pathetic.
"So that's the one thing I'd like to see the rules officials do and lay down the law more [and tell them] to get on with it or you're getting a two-shot penalty." 

Q. Are you a fan of green reading books?

"I hate them. They should be banned. Like long-putters should be banned. They banned long putters but guess what, people are still using them?
"They banned green reading books but people are still buying them and doing their homework at night time away from the golf course.
"If you're going to ban something, ban it and avoid all the controversy." 

Q. What would you say your biggest 'Uh oh, I messed up moment' of your career was?

"Darren Clarke playing the wrong ball at the Dunhill Links. It was one of those moments." 

Q. What do you say to a player at the end of a tournament if they could have won, or perhaps should have won but didn't?

"There's not a lot you can say really. Let them fester and talk positives until next week with a de-brief about where it went wrong. Just try and keep positive.
"You don't mean to lose or cock it up but s*** happens. That's what makes relationships last longer is choosing the right moment." 

Q. What is your favourite stop as a caddie?

"TPC Sawgrass. It is the whole package. It's a testament to the golf course that's never really been lengthened." 
"And the last three or four holes, it's a brilliant challenge, it's the ultimate test." 

Thanks for your time Billy!

"Cheers pal, all the best."

Foster was speaking to GolfMagic after he extended his contract to promote Motocaddy products.

That includes their trolleys, bags, batteries and accessories. The brand released their M7 GPS earlier this year. 

Head to Motocaddy for more information.