Caddie Confidential: Did your PGA Tour pro fare better or worse without fans?

Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first installment of our “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. First up: insights from a season without galleries.

If we asked your golf buddy whether you play better or worse in front of crowd, what do you think they’d say? We have a guess — and it’s not better.

We don’t know your golf buddy, but we do know PGA Tour caddies, so we asked them: In a season where roaring galleries were replaced with eery silence, how did your player fare compared to years prior? Did the silence allow for more focus, or was the energy of the crowd like a missing ingredient in a recipe for success?

After a season of mostly gallery-free events, dozens of Tour caddies weighed in. What do you think they saw from under the strap? The results …

Did your player play better, worse, or the same without galleries?

  • 15.2% of caddie respondents said their player played BETTER without fans
  • 36.4% of caddie respondents said their player played WORSE without fans
  • 48.5% of caddies respondents said their player played THE SAME without fans as they would have with fans

More than half of the PGA Tour caddies we surveyed said the environment registered a change — for better or worse — with their pro. Notably, more than a third of respondents felt their player underperformed in the absence of fans. Could be all those missing golf balls? Something to keep in mind next time you’re cheering from outside the ropes.

And while almost half of the caddies we surveyed felt it was business as usual on the course, about 15% felt their player actually did better without fans. Maybe being able to take a leak in the trees helped.

But whether caddies felt their player did better, worse or the same without fans in 2020, one sentiment was overwhelming: They want fans back.

If you could have one of the following going forward, which would it be? Fans; no fans; doesn’t make a difference.

  • 87.9% of caddie respondents want fans back
  • 9.1% of caddie respondents said they were good with no fans going forward
  • 3% of caddies respondents said it didn’t make a difference to them whether fans returned or didn’t

Interested in more from our January 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out the surprising, funny and strange observations caddies made from fan-less Tour events, as well as the best (and worst) of PGA Tour events without galleries.


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