Caddie Confidential: What’s the player/caddie breakup that surprised you the most?

High-profile player/caddie breakups happen. But few have been as surprising as the split between Phil Mickelson and Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay. Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the eighth 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 player/caddie relationships, how they evolve and what happens when a player has to break the bad news to a caddie that he or she has been fired.

It seems the most common comparison to a player/caddie relationship is that of a married couple.

Unfortunately, like a marriage, player/caddie relationships typically have a high rate of divorce. Though it’s common, some can be shocking — like when it was announced in 2017 that Phil Mickelson and Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay were going their separate ways after 25 years together. WHAT?!

Or, when Tiger Woods let go of Steve Williams, with whom he had won 13 of his 15 major championships.

Today, there are some great player/caddie pairs that you could never see coming to an end (but, you never know!): Rickie Fowler/Joe Skovron; Jim Furyk/Mike “Fluff” Cowan; Pat Perez/Michael Hartford; Kevin Kisner/Duane Bock; Kevin Na/Kenny Harms; Ryan Palmer/James Edmondson; Jordan Spieth/Michael Greller; Bubba Watson/Ted Scott; Brooks Koepka/Ricky Elliott.

We polled nearly four dozen PGA Tour caddies to get their opinion on a variety of questions related to player/caddie relationships in this month’s installment of Caddie Confidential, promising them anonymity in an effort to get their most honest answers. Let’s dive in to what they told us.

High profile player/caddie breakups happen on occasion. What’s the player/caddie break up that surprised you the most?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

Phil Mickelson and Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay (this was the most popular answer, with half of those polled pointing to this break up as the most surprising).

Tiger Woods and Steve Williams.

I was surprised Tim Tucker stayed with Bryson DeChambeau so long. He got treated terribly on the course.

Tony Finau and Greg Bodine.

Brandt Snedeker and Travis Perkins.

Nothing surprises me in this business.

Interested in more from our August 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check stories about how caddies were fired, as well as what caddies do to let players know they’re available.

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

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