Caddies Are Always On Alert To Be Fired

Caddies realize that they’re one or two bad tournaments away from being canned. Its a precarious career, but the good ones usually find another bag. But, the fear is always looming. A struggling golfer can’t fire himself so it’s easier to lay blame on his loyal looper.

As’s Undercover Caddie reports, it’s not so much getting the inevitable pink slip but when and how.

Grabbing a bag on a professional tour means you’re perpetually on the hot seat. I’ve been carrying for nearly two decades, so I’ve been charred good and proper by now. That doesn’t make getting consumed by the flames any easier.

I’ve been lucky to partner with 18 players on the PGA and developmental tours, four of which were longtime appointments. I’ve also been fired 17 times—and among my friends, that’s on the low end of the spectrum. Find me another profession, outside of working for the Cleveland Browns, with that type of turnover.

There have been callous splits. In the early 2000s, I was trying to get my guy to hit an 8-iron on an approach at the 71st hole. He was adamant that 9 was the play. I strongly, but respectfully, said he needed to club up. He went with the 9; his ball came up short of the green, and he couldn’t get up and down. That bogey dropped us out of the top 10. He fired me after signing his card, claiming he needed someone “who has faith in me.” Hey, I had faith—faith that his 9 was the wrong club.

Another player gave me the boot because he didn’t like me socializing with other players. He did that via text after we’d almost won the week before. He’s a noted caddie killer, so you tell yourself not to take it to heart. But man, it took all the reserve I had not to fire back with profanities.

When you do get fired, you immediately send out the word you’re available, through caddies, players, tournament officials. This is not the time for pride. The worst, and we’ve all done it, is going to a tournament without a bag, just hoping your services are needed. That’s a darkness you don’t know unless you’ve experienced it. You’ll take anything—anything—tossed your way. A player might have a reputation for cycling through caddies, but each week working is a chance to hit the lottery. You’re not throwing away that ticket.

Be sure to read why one caddie upon firing his boss had to endure the regrettable walk of shame.