Billy Foster reveals one thing he did to Seve he'd never do to Matt Fitzpatrick

Motocaddy ambassador Billy Foster sat down for an exclusive interview with GolfMagic ahead of a busy summer with Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 30 Mar 2023
Billy Foster reveals one thing he did to Seve he'd never do to Matt Fitzpatrick

Matthew Fitzpatrick's caddie Billy Foster has spent 40 years of his life caddying, so it's fair to say he has a few good stories rolled up his sleeve. 

Foster joined GolfMagic for an exclusive interview ahead of a busy summer with Fitzpatrick

The duo captured their maiden major together at the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club at Brookline. 

It was an emotional moment and Foster has waxed lyrical about 'the best professional' he's ever worked for in our interview. 

That's high praise given that he's looped for Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods

Foster addressed a number of topics, from Fitzpatrick's chances at the 2023 Masters, LIV Golf, the Ryder Cup, Woods and why he hates greens books

He was also unflinching when talking about his issues with 'pathetic' pace of play on tour. 

Scroll down for part one of our interview with Foster. 

Billy Foster interview, part one:

Q. Can we go right back to the start, what was your first event as a caddie?

"A European Tour event at Bingley (St. Ives, in 1981). [A few] players asked if any of the juniors would like to caddie. I volunteered and really enjoyed it.
"I went on to caddie at a few other events in York, Leeds and London and the following year a friend of mine suggested heading over to Spain on a six-week holiday to see if we could pick up a bag at a few tournaments.
"That was where my career took off."

Q. There was not a lot of money in the game back then, what made you keep persevering with it as a career?

Foster explained how one of his earliest jobs was working with Tony Johnstone at the Portuguese Open.

The Zimbabwean made about €1,000. Billy's cut? €50. 

Despite this, he enjoyed the camaraderie and life on the road. 

"It's been 40 years of caddying. There's been a few changes in that time, let me tell you."

Q. What would you be doing if it didn't work out?

"I was an apprentice joiner, a carpenter with my father so I would have probably would have done that. I got tired of being sacked three times a week by my dad."

Q. Why was he sacking you?

"He made Victor Meldrew look like Peter Kay. That miserable old git. He didn't have the patience to teach me properly so I managed to get under his feet.
"I probably would have gone to college to learn it properly but [caddying] was my way forward in life." 

The 2023 Masters

Q. How do you rate Matthew's chances at Augusta?

"Yeah, obviously Fitz has got the game to win anywhere really. He's obviously put on a lot of length so that shouldn't be an issue and he chips it well with his cack-handed [technique] and he putts very well.
"He's obviously not been playing his best for the last few weeks [at the Players, WGC Match Play] but it's all about getting a bit of confidence. Once the juices get flowing and he gets his teeth stuck into it he will put up a good fight. 

Q. Why do you think yourself and Matthew are a good team?

"I've worked for some very good players. Seve [Ballesteros], Lee [Westwood], Darren [Clarke] and Thomas Bjorn but Matt is by far the best professional I have ever worked for.
"I wouldn't say he's the best player but the way he goes about his business with his work ethic...his drive, effort, commitment that he puts into every department to try and find another half a percent is really something else. 
"We're also not short of things to talk about. I'm a Leeds fan and he's a Sheffield United fan but we're very comfortable. He's a very respectful young man and he doesn't give me any grief on the golf course really.
"Don't get me wrong, all golfers have mood swings left, right and centre when things aren't going well. Some are a little bit more aggressive than others but he's very, very respectful and we work well together. 
"[It also helps] that he carries his own yardage book as well. [It's like] he's the driver and I'm the navigator. 

Q. What's it like to caddie at the Masters? Are you a fan of the boilersuit?

"It's torture [the boilersuit]. It's by far the toughest week of the year. The margins for error around Augusta are so minute.
"It's almost like every green has got three greens within one because of the different levels and the way the ball rolls off 'em. 
"It's mentally the most taxing week. Once you stick the flag back in at the 72nd hole, you're just happy that you still have a job.
"It's a tough walk as well, then you've got the boilersuit one. It could be 80 degrees and you've got a big, thick cotton boilersuit on. It's a tough week. 

Q. What's the toughest hole to give a yardage on at Augusta?

"The 12th. I don't care how good a caddie you are, how good a player you are, how good a meteorologist you are, you are [still] giving your best estimated guess.
"When you're on the top of that hill [with the wind blowing] ...when you stand on that tee it's probably only 150 yards, it could be a 7-iron one second but 10 seconds later it could be a 9-iron because the wind swirls around in there. 
"I always try and say to Matt try and bring your ball flight down and knock it under the wind to try and get a bit more consistency and keep it over the middle bunker at the front.
"But you are guessing half of the time. It's your best educated guess. You're trying to land it on a six-pence. It's tough, tough work." 

Q. What do you make about the changes made to No. 13?

"Yeah, it's good. That's how the hole was designed. Technology has destroyed the game. The ball goes too far, the driver is too forgiving.
"Lads [have been] sending it over the top of the trees and hitting a wedge in. The hole wasn't designed to do that. You're [now] driving it to the edge of the dog-leg and hitting a 5-iron, 4-iron, but that's how the hole was designed to be." 

Q. What is Matt thinking for that hole? 

"It'll definitely be a driver of the tee. I understands it's 30/35 yards longer and most guys will be hitting a 3-wood to the corner or trying to draw a driver round the corner or over it if you're an absolute beast like DeChambeau.
"Yeah, you won't be able to hit it over the top anymore. So it'll be a driver to the corner and if you can hook it really tight to the trees you might be able to hit a 7-iron."

Q. You've said the shot Seve hit at the European Masters was the greatest you've ever seen. Where does Fitzy's shot at 18 at the U.S. Open rank?

"Probably in the top-10 for sure. I've seen a lot of good shots over the last 40 years. I have to say it's the best fairway bunker shot I've ever seen.
"It was a brilliant shot under the circumstances. He could've probably hit 10 of those bunker shots and probably only got two on the green, never mind getting it as close as he did.
"He could only see the left edge of the green from where he was and it probably moved 10 or 15 yards in the air. It was a very, very special golf shot that will stay with me until the day I die." 

Q. At least to me it didn't look like he was nervous, he looked very focus?

"He looked in the zone. Very focused. He was in the zone and you know Fitz, he's a quick player. We discussed the shot and I pointed out the [target] tree [near] the floodlight and by the time I walked out of the bunker and turned around he had already hit it. He didn't panic. A sensational golf shot." 

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Q. What did you learn most from Seve? Why do you think you lasted so long with him?

"It was like fighting fire with fire. But he respected me as well because I gave him the honest truth. I had to do my job. There was [less technology], no lasers, we were out there for hours on end with a yardage wheel.
"He'll tell you I put in a lot of effort. But listen, a lot of global superstars are surrounded by people who kiss their arse all day long.
"He never got that from me, he always got the honest truth but [it was] respectful at the same time. I think he appreciated somebody being honest with him.
"There were some [tough] times, 95 per cent of the time I loved him. The other five per cent of the time I wanted to headbutt him. That's the Latin temperament for you. We always remained very, very good friends." 

Q. I read a cracking anecdote about how you once gave him the wrong yardage to make sure he hit the club you wanted. It worked out. 

"The last hole at St. Mellion (the 1994 Benson & Hedges). 

Q. Have you done that to Matthew yet? 

"No I wouldn't.  I've never done it [with Matt]. I only did it that once. He had a two-shot lead over Nick Faldo and it was right on his limit for a 5-iron over water.
"So I told him it was six yards further so he hit a 4-iron and he actually hit it six yards behind the hole. I said, to him 'Had I given you the right yardage you might've holed it!'
"But, it took the water out of play and he won the tournament. I can't believe I did it really. When I told him, he was not amused, let me tell you." 

Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Foster. 

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.