Friday 25 May 2018

History shows golfers and caddies not a match for life

 

Mike ‘Fluff’ Cowan and Tiger Woods were a formidable team during the nineties, but Tiger then showed him the door and the veteran caddie has since been on the bag of Jim Furyk. Photo: Getty
Mike ‘Fluff’ Cowan and Tiger Woods were a formidable team during the nineties, but Tiger then showed him the door and the veteran caddie has since been on the bag of Jim Furyk. Photo: Getty
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

while often compared to a husband and wife relationship, the golfer and the caddie were never destined to be a match made in heaven or to last for the duration of a career.

For a start, there's the nature of the game. No matter how good the player, the ebb time follows the flow of success, and when it does, there's usually a reckoning.

If the performance levels drop, or a player gets frustrated, he has to find a scapegoat.

Usually, it's the caddie or the coach. A change, any change, is seen as something desirable to turn fortunes around when the dreaded slump - or relative slump - occurs.

Caddies can, and do, 'sack' their players, but usually it's the other way around.

Mike 'Fluff' Cowan famously got Tiger Woods's bag at the start of the precocious young player's career and looked set for a long, lucrative journey to the heights of the game.

Jim Furyk and Fluff Cowan
Jim Furyk and Fluff Cowan

When Fluff looked like he was basking in the limelight a little too much for Woods' liking, exit Fluff, and in came New Zealander Steve Williams in 1999.

Massive

Together they enjoyed massive success, until July 2011, when the end came for Williams.

He subsequently went public with his story of life with Tiger in his autobiography, and made a very insulting remark about Tiger's colour and a part of his anatomy that got the Kiwi plenty of adverse attention.

Phil Mickelson caused a storm recently by ending his 25-year relationship with Jim 'Bones' McKay, a longevity that looked a cert to endure until Mickelson decided to retire.

Our own Pádraig Harrington had the services first of caddie legend John O'Reilly, and then Dave McNeilly before settling with Ronan Flood, later to be his brother-in-law and who is still his caddie to this day.

Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley employed JP Fitzgerald at one stage, with McGinley ending the relationship and taking on Darren Reynolds, who is now Paul Dunne's caddie.

Colin Byrne, who famously worked for South African Major champions Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, is now on Rafa Cabrera-Bello's bag.

Shane Lowry started out his professional career with his friend David 'Shaper' Reynolds who caddied when Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009, but within a couple of months Dermot Byrne, an experienced caddie, was taken on board.

Job security is definitely not a guarantee for Tour caddies.

Irish Independent

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