Caddie Confidential: Challenges caddies face on West Coast Swing that they don’t face elsewhere on Tour

One of the many challenges for caddies during the annual West Coast Swing? Doing homework for eight different courses in a three-week stretch. Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the second installment of our 2022 “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. In this edition, caddies share what types of challenges they face on the West Coast Swing that they don’t face elsewhere on Tour.

After leaving Hawaii to start the year and heading back to the mainland, the PGA Tour’s West Coast Swing — a five-tournament stretch beginning with The American Express and ending with the Genesis Invitational at Riviera — is contested.

In this February 2022 edition of Caddie Confidential, we polled nearly three dozen caddies to hear what types of challenges they face on the West Coast Swing that they don’t face elsewhere on Tour.

CADDIE CONFIDENTIAL: Our 2022 archive page for monthly Caddie Confidential topics

“Weather, travel, cost, accommodations. Pretty much everything,” one caddie said.

“Masks, vaccine cards… nonsense… traffic, rude people,” said another.

Here’s a look at the responses from our caddies, who we promised anonymity in an effort to get their most honest answers.

What are the types of challenges you face on the West Coast Swing that you don’t face elsewhere on Tour?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

Cold weather and cumbersome rain.

The West Coast Swing can get cold and you can get that cold winter rain at Riv and Pebble — but you catch them on a good week, which we do a lot, and there’s nothing better.

Lots of liberals. Tougher COVID rules – pay 3 times as much for basically anything.

Events with more than one golf course.

Three courses in Palm Springs, two at Torrey, three at pebble. Eight courses to check out in three weeks.

Packing for 3 seasons.

Poa annua greens.

Traffic and cost are much higher.

Pro ams.

We have more tournaments on the West Coast Swing that have more than one course involved than any other time of year. The reason for that is to be able to accommodate as many players as possible for each of those tournaments when we have less daylight during that time of year. But that fact creates separate challenges each of those weeks as certain courses play more difficult during inclement weather and it’s the luck of the draw as to which course you’re on during that day. It’s also very challenging for new players and caddies to learn multiple courses for one event.

Cold weather.

Far travel from home.

Locating hotels / Airbnb’s for reasonable rates. I live on the East Coast and it is tough to be away from my family and friends for all of January and February.

Weather mostly.

Multiple courses.

The amount of homework! Three events use eight courses total which makes for long caddie days.

Better for me because I live on the West Coast.

Horrible food for caddies. Expensive hotels.

Cold air. Early tee times and blue state mandates!

Most years the weather is a big factor. Even in good weather years the Poa greens end up being the biggest factor.

California nut jobs.

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