caddies
Knowing what to talk about while waiting between shots is a big part of whether or not a player/caddie relationship will work out. Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Trial and Error early on

“You may say something that you might feel is encouraging and they can turn around and take it the wrong way because they’re competitive, they’re the best in the world at what they do,” Farnell said.

“I said ‘nice roll’ to my player on a (missed) putt during a round and he said, ‘if I wanted a nice roll, I would have gone to an f-ing bakery’.”

Scott learned immediately when not to talk during tournament loops with Azinger.

“The first week I worked for Paul (2003 Buick Open), he hit a shot and I was like, ‘get down, get down’ and he said, ‘hey, don’t ever talk to my golf ball’,” Scott said. “He didn’t like it when I did it, or his playing competitors did it. He’d say, ‘hey man, don’t talk to my golf ball.’ They could be cheering for him and he’d say that.”

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Perhaps Azinger just thought it was bad luck, or maybe it distracted his own concentration, but to each their own.

“Players are all unique, that’s the cool thing about the game there’s so many ways to go about doing it,” Scott said.

Farnell sees today’s younger pros as a lot less irritable than some of the vets when he started 15 years ago.

Whereas Farnell’s players used to yell at him if his phone was out of his pocket, now he says players are with their phones at seemingly all times as they check Instagram and other sports scores during practice.

“If Harold’s playing with Tiger, he will give Harold a hard time and say, ‘put your phone away, you’re here to work! What’s with you kids and these phones?’ He’s still old school in that way. But that’s just how the world is now.”