Comparing the PGA Tour and LPGA from a caddie's perspective
During my 22 years as a pro caddie, I’ve spent most of my time with the men but the last four weeks I’ve been on the LPGA, the longest stint of my career. There are some noticeable differences inside the LPGA ropes and a PGA tour caddie must adapt quickly or bounce around from the numerous open bags. That’s the first thing you notice out here, there are actually caddies picking up bags in the parking lot, something rarely heard of on any other tour.
The weeks and days are much longer. A lot of girls, especially the Korean contingent, start on Monday and spend at least 10 hours a day practicing. On the Champions Tour some of the old boys might show up Thursday morning for the afternoon pro-am. At most PGA Tour events the practice green is empty by 7:00 p.m.
Walking on to the practice tee I usually head to the right because we don’t want to watch anyone’s swing or get caught up in the flatulence. You look for a spot to the left on the LPGA practice tee because the rear view down the line is much better if you know what I mean. Timing my lecherous gazes appropriately I’m still able to keep an eye on my player and stick to my job.
Once you hit the course, a caddie needs a little more cheerleader than caddie expertise. Your first lesson is landing the ball short and running it back to the hole. I once said, “Why don’t we hit the wedge behind the hole and suck it back?” My player retorted, “We don’t do that out here!” I quickly recalled that number 5-10 yards short of the pin.
The groupies are much different and a lot scarier over here. Walking off the 17th green last week at the Jamie Farr Classic I was met by a group looking like a Division II offensive football line. I hustled to the 18th tee without eye contact; on the PGA Tour you’re always trying to catch an attractive eye in the crowd.
The camaraderie is much more evident on the LPGA. There’s a lot of hugging and kissing after the round and a player-caddie party every week, plus they let us go in the clubhouse dining room. That’s unheard of on the PGA Tour.
I could get used to it out here if the purses were bigger, the schedule longer, and I had a top-30 player. It’s a great group of folks and kind of reminds me of the PGA Tour when I first started.
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