Caddie Confidential: Which player surprised you the most in the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season and why?

Jordan Spieth busted out of a long slump in a big way in 2021 with a victory in the Valero Texas Open, nine top 10s and top-12 finishes in three of the four majors. Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 10th installment of our “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. Up this month: we tackle a player of the year debate, biggest surprises in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, which major was the best of them all and which looper should be tabbed “Caddie of the Year.”

The 2020-21 PGA Tour season was filled with plenty of surprises, both pleasant and shocking.

For starters, Phil Mickelson became the oldest major champion in history with his surprise victory in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island back in May, which upped his major win tally to six, joining Nick Faldo and Harry Vardon at that mark.

At the other end of the spectrum, former world No. 1 missed out on the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time since 2008.

We polled nearly four dozen PGA Tour caddies to get their opinion on the most surprising players in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, promising them anonymity in an effort to get their most honest answers.

“Harry Higgs,” one caddie said. “The guy looks like he’s gonna shoot 80 everyday. Not your typical tour player.”

“Patrick Cantlay,” said another. “Such a large growth in performance in a relatively short time.”

Which player surprised you the most in the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season and why?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

Jon Rahm and his ability to break free from the pack of young guns to become a clear No. 1.

Eric Van Rooyen. He probably doesn’t get as much attention as a lot of the great players to come out of South Africa, but he had a terrific year with his first win and a couple of top 10s in the playoffs.

Will Zalatoris played phenomenal all year and didn’t have any status before.

Phil Mickelson winning the PGA, basically had a 50-year-old’s year otherwise and somehow found magic for that week.

Tommy Fleetwood. Thought he was a different European player that could hang with the big boys on PGA Tour. Instead, he was just another Euro that falls off on the PGA Tour.

Justin Rose. He didn’t make the playoffs.

Dustin Johnson. I think the world of his talent and was surprised he didn’t continue his form and have another amazing year.

Patrick Cantlay, because although he is good he stepped up his game to No. 1 status!

Kevin Na finishing tied for first with Jon Rahm in the Tour Championship at 14 under. He never broke par there before for the four days. that was impressive.

Erik van Rooyen. Came from nowhere in the last few weeks to make it to East Lake.

Jordan Spieth. Starting in San Antonio, he completely turned his game around. He had not played well in a while, and broke out again like the Jordan Spieth of old. I loved it.

Jordan Spieth. Impressive when you go that far down the rabbit hole and comeback.

Colin Morikawa. Two majors and a WGC!

Scottie Scheffler because he ain’t that good.

Charles Howell III. He has the talent to be top 10 in the world but he underperforms.

Justin Rose. Him finishing outside the top 125 was very surprising.

Interested in more from our October 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out whether caddies believe players got their PGA Tour Player of the Year vote right and which caddie would be most deserving of PGA Tour Caddie of the Year honors by their peers if the award existed.

You can view all the results from our entire Caddie Confidential by clicking here.


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