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Unpopular opinion: Pro caddies are extremely overrated


4thand11
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1 hour ago, 4thand11 said:

 

Right but I'm not really referring to what they do.  I'm referring to how much impact they have on how well a player plays.  How much credit they deserve when their player happens to play well, or how much blame they deserve when the player happens to play poorly.  It's almost zero in my opinion because they are not swinging the club or hitting the ball.

 

Like I said if a pro player can randomly stick his son or gf or local guy or whoever on the bag for a week, and win a tournament against the best players in the world, then the caddy probably does not really make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. 

 

That's not to say a guy like Bones is not good at his job.  I am simply saying that him being good at his job, has a marginal impact on whether JT or Phil wins a golf tournament or not, since they are the ones actually playing the game.

My point was you can't generalize. You may think a caddy matters almost zero to a player's success or failure, but you are just sitting with us in the peanut gallery. 

 

I do think it says something that some of the best in the world often stick with the same caddy for a looooong time. Tiger has changed even caddies less often than he's changed putters (and that's saying something). Bring this up because it is analogous. Would be just as easy to sit there as a fan and say Tiger could have won all those majors with any putter. Possibly true - but if so, why did he game the same Newport 2 for all but one of his majors? Apparently he thought it was important.

 

Brings me to your last statement: I am simply saying that him being good at his job, has a marginal impact on whether JT or Phil wins a golf tournament or not, since they are the ones actually playing the game.

 

Yes, they are the ones actually playing the game. And I'd say if JT says his caddy was important, your opinion matters "almost zero". 

 

Whether the importance of a caddy is overrated or underrated is subjective, and depends largely on who is doing the rating. In fact, the only one that can legitimately assign that rating is the player himself. Everyone else's opinion is pretty much irrelevant.

 

You are right - yours is an unpopular opinion. Probably for a good reason.

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This isn't that hard. A professional golfer wouldn't just forfeit $100k - $1M+ a year for something that doesn't provide value. That's a hefty price tag for "tradition". If there wasn't value guys would be auctioning the opportunity to caddy for them to the highest bidder. Even scrubs on the tour would get plenty of takers from people who'd just like the chance to see the game from inside the ropes. Instantaneously you could turn an annual expense into a revenue opportunity. The fact we haven't seen that is telling.  

 

As to what that value is and whether or not it is overrated, who the hell knows. Even one stroke a tournament is huge. One stroke could be the difference between making the cut and collecting $25k or a $1M difference between winning and 2nd place. Rory has talked about his caddy (and best friend) talking him out of attempting a hero shot while winning the Well Fargo. That decision potentially made Rory an extra $600k. I say potentially as there is no guaranty that Rory wouldn't pull off the hero shot. Regardless, do you think Rory listens to that advice if he picked up some 18 y/o kid at the course to carry his bag or auctioned it off to his twitter followers?  

 

Obviously 95% or 99% or maybe even 99.9% of the player's result is going to be based on how he's performing at the time and how that course sets up for his game. But when everybody is talented and dozens show up every week in form and suited for the course, every marginal advantage matters. These players employ full teams to find any advantage they can. Swing coach, short game coach, putting coach, physical therapist, personal trainer, sports psychologist or performance coaches, nutritionists, chefs, personal assistants, nannies, etc. The list is endless and all in a desperate attempt to extract that tiny advantage.  

 

A caddy could play a number of different roles, a 2nd set of eyes on the green, a rational sounding board when you're indecisive, a full on strategist, or simply a relaxing presence. I'm sure there are caddies on tour that are good and some things and maybe not good at others. I don't think its hard to see the value, I think the hard part is identifying the excess value of the known quantities like Bones, Williams, Greller vs your run of the mill professional caddy. 

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6 hours ago, 4thand11 said:

 

Right but I'm not really referring to what they do.  I'm referring to how much impact they have on how well a player plays.  How much credit they deserve when their player happens to play well, or how much blame they deserve when the player happens to play poorly.  It's almost zero in my opinion because they are not swinging the club or hitting the ball.

 

Like I said if a pro player can randomly stick his son or gf or local guy or whoever on the bag for a week, and win a tournament against the best players in the world, then the caddy probably does not really make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. 

 

That's not to say a guy like Bones is not good at his job.  I am simply saying that him being good at his job, has a marginal impact on whether JT or Phil wins a golf tournament or not, since they are the ones actually playing the game.

 

 

 

 

Just because they don’t hit the ball doesn’t mean s**t. 
That’s like saying a race mechanic or race team principle in f1 doesn’t do anything because they don’t drive the car…… 

 

Players generally rely on their caddies for all sorts of little things. The numbers in the book might be a little basic and your man might have walked the course and got some extra numbers. If it comes down to it and your player ask what’s the carry on something and you’ve done the extra detail and got that number rather than guessing using the book then that’s certainly going to help you in the moment. 
Trust me it’s not all as black and white as you think. 
 

 

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For example last year at the Dutch open we played with a guy who on the 2nd didn’t like the tee shot. 
Water cutting in on the left about 290, two traps to cover and a run out at about 320. Course was playing firm so was a tricky tee shot. 
He just hit it over onto the third fairway to take the danger out of play. 
Guess who went and got numbers from the third fairway to the second green as they weren’t in the book. 
Wasn’t the player, so in the case you could argue that the caddie did make a difference 

 

I listened to a podcast with Gareth Lord (Stensons ex caddie) and he said that he didn’t have to do much when Stenson was on. But let me tell you, when they’re having a frustrating day/bad day, that’s where caddies certainly make the difference. Keeping them patient, calm etc. There’s a lot more than yardage, wind and club selection. Even if the player only leans on the caddie on one pressure shot a round, If the correspondence is correct and the caddie makes the call then that does add up. Like you say it’s the difference between Jt making the play off and missing by 1. 
 

Sometimes a player will literally say ‘Which club is it’ and you’ve got to make the call and they trust your judgement. It’s happened to me plenty of time. 


But guess you’re all entitled to your opinion. If you’ve caddied on one of the major tours and you don’t feel you made a difference at all then either you’re s**t at caddying or you don’t know what you’re doing. Simple as that

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13 hours ago, bobfoster said:

Exactly this. (Said something similar.) The statement that "pro caddies are extremely overrated" is nearly meaningless. There is no standard caddy job description that gets posted on Indeed for goodness sake. What they do varies greatly based on what the player needs/wants, and the nature of their relationship. Anyone that has been to even a few PGA tourneys gets that.

 

Are you saying the caddies don't have Q-School of their own?  There is no 6-week caddy program like those real estate courses that promise you will be rich in no time?  (bob you may have inspired the next great idea...)

 

And btw, I hear Monster is still the place for caddy job openings, so, you may want to update your information.

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Posted (edited)

So I had a qualifier for a provincial tournament yesterday, and a buddy caddied for me.  Let's not confuse this with any kind of professional tournament, but it was a golf tournament.  On one hole, because, among other things, the two guys I was playing with were so slow, I thought I was helping by knocking in my 1 footer, but I had to take a strange stance to not step in the guy's line.  I likely don't need to say what happened next.

 

Walking to the next tee, I said something, and my buddy said, "Mark that every time.  They won't do a damn thing to speed up, so don't compromise your game for them.  F'em. "  Along with a few other things(like cracking jokes when I got a little hot under the collar at myself), he was certainly helpful.  And I actually cost myself a number of shots not consulting him early on on putts.  Just had trouble with uphill/downhill on this course's greens.  SO they certainly do add to the party.  Not to mention not pushing my cart on this course kept me much fresher at the end.

 

Some caddies might be "overrated", but very few bring no value.

Edited by golfortennis
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totally agree with that, they can be productive as a mental checkpoint, like, "are you sure you want to hit driver on 18 instead of laying up to win the tournament" but other than that they carry a bag. 

 

everybody says bones is great but, I am pretty sure that JT was good before he grabbed his bag, good caddies have nothing to do with the success of a player, they just get lucky because of their rep to have a good bag

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20 minutes ago, golfortennis said:

So I had a qualifier for a provincial tournament yesterday, and a buddy caddied for me.  Let's not confuse this with any kind of professional tournament, but it was a golf tournament.  On one hole, because, among other things, the two guys I was playing with were so slow, I thought I was helping by knocking in my 1 footer, but I had to take a strange stance to not step in the guy's line.  I likely don't need to say what happened next.

 

Walking to the next tee, I said something, and my buddy said, "Mark that every time.  They won't do a damn thing to speed up, so don't compromise your game for them.  F'em. "  Along with a few other things(like cracking jokes when I got a little hot under the collar at myself), he was certainly helpful.  And I actually cost myself a number of shots not consulting him early on on putts.  Just had trouble with uphill/downhill on this course's greens.  SO they certainly do add to the party.  Not to mention not pushing my cart on this course kept me much fresher at the end.

 

Some caddies might be "overrated", but very few bring no value.

I like this.  If I needed a caddie there's two people at the top of my list: my son and a good friend of mine. Both know the game exceptionally well, have calm demeanors and know me very well so they could help keep me composed if I lost it a bit.  I'm guessing professional golfers that use family members or friends as caddies find those same traits as highly valuable.  I'm guessing some of the great professional caddies of today also offer those same traits as well as many other positive traits to help their golfer. 

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16 minutes ago, Wham49 said:

totally agree with that, they can be productive as a mental checkpoint, like, "are you sure you want to hit driver on 18 instead of laying up to win the tournament" but other than that they carry a bag. 

 

everybody says bones is great but, I am pretty sure that JT was good before he grabbed his bag, good caddies have nothing to do with the success of a player, they just get lucky because of their rep to have a good bag


so Scottie finally getting over the hump of winning on tour had absolutely nothing to do with Ted Scott standing next to him? And then winning another tournament then a major? 
 

No doubt these players are world class but the right caddie can get a lot more out of a player, even the best ones in the world 

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6 minutes ago, Ferguson said:

 

Help me to understand what happened in ~2002 that caused this "massive shift in thinking" about the player/caddie relationship. 

 

IIRC it all started with unknown Rich Beem's victory at the PGA, followed by his comments in the interview afterwards: "Me and my caddy's switching to the 3 downs had a huge impact"

 

From that point on, it was show down, keep down, and shut down.

 

Some have called it the polar opposite of the pre-2002 way of thinking

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18 minutes ago, Ferguson said:

 

Help me to understand what happened in ~2002 that caused this "massive shift in thinking" about the player/caddie relationship. 

The old school caddying days went away around the mid 2000s (imo). The money went up, and so did the caddie pay. Their role became more important based on the fact that jobs were becoming more competitive and the profession became more serious for guys who were looking to be caddies. 

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2 minutes ago, Creedo77 said:

The old school caddying days went away around the mid 2000s (imo). The money went up, and so did the caddie pay. Their role became more important based on the fact that jobs were becoming more competitive and the profession became more serious for guys who were looking to be caddies. 

 

There is that, but in fairness, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact a lot of players are so spoon fed from the time they first swing a club that they would be like a deer in the headlights.  Look at college golf FFS.  They can't do anything without the coach basically signing off on it.  There are a few guys who can handle things, and thus family members get brought in, but they tend to be older players(Cink, Westwood) who grew up needing to know their stuff, or guys who don't have the status to get into something long term.  

 

I would argue the money effect was more that caddies started emphasizing their "value adds" or developing them in order to remain marketable.  

 

I think the old school caddying might have gone away when, top players at least, started to do away with 10-7-5 and went to salaries with bonuses.  I mean a guy like Grellar, or Scott is on a "contract" as it were, right?  Their not dependent solely on 10-7-5 to make money anymore?  Or has it reverted back?

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52 minutes ago, Creedo77 said:


so Scottie finally getting over the hump of winning on tour had absolutely nothing to do with Ted Scott standing next to him? And then winning another tournament then a major? 
 

No doubt these players are world class but the right caddie can get a lot more out of a player, even the best ones in the world 

maybe 1 shot a tounament, and no ted scott has nothing to do with Scottie playing well

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, BlackDiamondPar5 said:

1 shot is often several worth several hundred grand. 

Yep, just ask Mito

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5 minutes ago, Wham49 said:

LOL, if it is for that much the caddy had nothing to do with getting them to that point

 

17 minutes ago, Wham49 said:

maybe 1 shot a tounament, and no ted scott has nothing to do with Scottie playing well

 

Well you said ^^^^ ---  and that's what 1 shot a tournament at the pro level is often worth. 

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2 minutes ago, Wham49 said:

caddy didnt help him there, he should not get paid, if that is what you guys are saying, 

A good caddie would have talked Mito out of hitting driver

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35 minutes ago, Superbrit said:

A good caddie would have talked Mito out of hitting driver

 

Results-oriented thinking.  Driver was the correct play there he just hit a bad shot.

 

If anything this example illustrates that caddy's impact is overstated.  Had he hit a great drive and won the title, people would probably say, "Mito's caddy told him to go with driver, proof he was a key part of the victory."

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1 hour ago, golfortennis said:

 

There is that, but in fairness, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact a lot of players are so spoon fed from the time they first swing a club that they would be like a deer in the headlights.  Look at college golf FFS.  They can't do anything without the coach basically signing off on it.  There are a few guys who can handle things, and thus family members get brought in, but they tend to be older players(Cink, Westwood) who grew up needing to know their stuff, or guys who don't have the status to get into something long term.  

 

I would argue the money effect was more that caddies started emphasizing their "value adds" or developing them in order to remain marketable.  

 

I think the old school caddying might have gone away when, top players at least, started to do away with 10-7-5 and went to salaries with bonuses.  I mean a guy like Grellar, or Scott is on a "contract" as it were, right?  Their not dependent solely on 10-7-5 to make money anymore?  Or has it reverted back?

90% of tour caddies are on a weekly salary with 10% and % for cut made. The 10/7/5 has kind of gone away. PGA tour guys are mostly 10/8 or 10/7

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