Golf is an individual sport. However, when it comes to professional golf, and even though it’s the golf player who finally hits the ball, the caddy is also crucial in the road to victory, as he plays an important role measuring distances, calculating the slope, reading the greens or simply motivating the player.
The relationship between the caddy and the player is a professional relationship that both make clear from the beginning. There’re caddies whose role is merely carrying the clubs bag, such as Retief Goosen’s, but some others are able to read a putt that wins a Masters Tournament, like Steve Williams, Adam Scott’s caddy, in the second playoff hole of the last Masters.
Some other times, the caddy has the chance to choose the shot that his master will play. Phil Mickelson lets his caddy, Jim “Bones” Mckay, do so, but only once a year. But even though every relationship between the player and his caddy is always different, there’s one rule that has always been clear, the player is the one to make the final decision.
That’s why the recent reaction of a top player like Bubba Watson after sending the ball to the water in the 16th hole of the Travelers Championship 2013 has surprised everyone. That unlucky stroke made Bubba lose the tournament, who was two shots away from his pursuivants at that moment. If the ball had landed in the fairway, Bubba would probably have ended winning his first tournament after the 2012 Masters.
Bubba did not manage his anger too well and gave a big reprimand to his caddy, Ted Scott, the same caddy that threatened him to stop carrying his bag if he did not improve his attitude in the course. Bubba’s publica anger episode has caused a big damage to his public image, and to his sponsor’s too. It’s not just about his behaviour, that is usually faultless, but everybody that was watching the game knew that even though the planning of the shot is teamwork, the final decision about that stroke is made by the boss, the player.
But even more, Bubba’s reprimand to his caddy can seriously affect their relationship, which is not flawless if you play professional golf, and changing a caddy is not an easy thing to do. If he decides to do so, he’ll need a longer training time than other players, not only because of Bubba’s long shots, but also because of his uniquely drawn strokes. On top of all, the new caddy should also get used to his master’s focusing problem during the game.