Caddie Confidential: The best (and worst) of PGA Tour events without galleries

Credit: Adam Hagy-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.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been little-to-no fans at PGA Tour events since June 2020. We wanted to know the best and worst of the situation from the eyes of Tour caddies, so we asked.

The results? Some good (less traffic and easier parking), some bad (missing energy) and some we can all agree has been great (“no ‘mashed potato’ idiots,” as one caddie put it.)

To keep them honest, we allowed caddies to answer anonymously but also allowed them to attach their name if they wanted. What have caddies enjoyed from a season without fans? What do they miss? A selection of responses below:

What has been the best part of a year without galleries?

No dickheads yelling out.

Easy to plan. Better parking. Less stress.

Not hearing potato chips bags rustle when your player is trying to hit a shot. You still have to keep your head on a swivel though. They still give the marshals chips for some crazy reason!

Ease of accommodations and ease of travel around and on the course.

Caddie hospitality became better because we were able to utilize indoor space normally reserved for patrons.

The traffic in major cities is down, hotel cost. But I miss the spectators.

The parking and clubhouse access has been better.

The luxury of shaving 20-30 minutes off of my arrival time because there are no worries of traffic into the course each day. Besides that, about everything else is worse without fans in attendance… can’t wait to get them back!

Parking closer to the clubhouse.

Not having to ask them to stop moving or be quiet.

Not having to tell them to stop, stand still, or be quiet.

Navigating around the clubhouse, practice areas and parking.

There isn’t anything about the situation that has been better without fans.

Not having to visit will call.

No rowdy people to yell “BE QUIET!” at.

Being able to take a leak almost anywhere in the trees.

No mashed potatoes, or any other vegetables, hurled vocally by drunk spectators.

Not having to deal with telling people to stand or be quiet.

Not dealing with ropes, stairs, pathways, etc. when moving from greens to the next tee.

Basically, walking anywhere you want to walk to get from point A to point B.

There’s been galleries, they are just significantly smaller.

The absence of over-served frat boys.

No traffic going to the course.

The best part has been not having to push through crowds or hush people.

Being able to walk around facilities without running into hundreds of people. No “mashed potato” idiots.

Better parking for the caddies.

Faster rounds with less distractions.

What has been the worst part of a year without galleries?

There hasn’t been any.

No reactions from good shots.

I like seeing kids at events. Not having them there is sad. Almost all of the players out here — and most caddies — found their passion for the game after watching and experiencing it live when they were young.

Excitement.

The cheers. They keep momentum going.

Friends and families I’ve made over the years unable to come watch when I am in town.

No buzz/excitement around the course.

Less excitement and buzz than normal.

Lack of energy.

Not hearing the roars when something good is happening.

Not having my mom at the Masters. — Kyle Peters

The support they bring to the tournament, (financially and all the personalities). I miss the cheers (good and bad). You don’t realize how quiet and calm the course is until you are out there without them.

The roars.

Not having friends and family enjoy the grounds.

The atmosphere at times.

There was no energy.

Tournaments are just better with fans. Take out the drunks and the potato yellers, and the atmosphere is just so much more electric. It’s tough to beat trying to win a tournament down the stretch with the noise and excitement of a large crowd watching.

No excitement with a great shot

The energy. It was very “flat” out there.

Nothing.

The golf course atmosphere.

Not much energy.

The worst part has been the missing energy of good fans..

Everything. It is boring. The appreciation and encouragement the fans provide make me excited to go to work everyday.

No energy.

The buzz and excitement being in the hunt or a big tournament.

Interested in more from our January 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out the surprising, funny and strange observations from fan-less Tour events as well as whether or not — in the eyes of their caddie — Tour pros fared better or worse without fans.

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