How our caddie picks fared in the 2018-19 PGA Tour season
With the 2018-19 PGA Tour season officially in the books — and don’t blink, because the new 2019-20 season begins on Sept. 12 at Greenbrier — it’s time to look back on the performance of our caddie prognosticators.
All told, our caddies made picks for 43 tournaments — 42 of those official PGA Tour events, with the one outlier being the Hero World Challenge. The only three official events where picks weren’t made were the Puerto Rico Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship — all opposite field events with either a WGC or major also being contested those weeks (where picks were made).
Here’s how the picks worked:
- For full-field events, three caddies each offered up three picks to win.
- For smaller fields, three caddies made two picks apiece… At the Sentry Tournament of Champions, two caddies made three picks apiece.
- For the 30-player Tour Championship, three caddies made one pick each.
In the 43 events we collected caddie picks for, there were 76 instances where a player picked finished inside the top 10. Of those 76, 43 were top-5 finishers, including 12 winners.
Here’s the breakdown of the top-10 finishers:
Here were the winners, chronologically, along with what the caddie had to say in that week’s prediction. As you’ll see, Brooks Koepka was the only unanimous winning pick among the caddies at the PGA Championship:
1. Cameron Champ, Sanderson Farms Championship
Caddie: “This rookie is the longest hitter on Tour. He drives the ball good enough to take advantage of his length at the tree-lined course in Jackson. This should be a pitch and putt for the big hitter with the ability to take it real deep. Look for ‘Champ’ to be the champ at the Sanderson Farms Championship!”
2. Bryson DeChambeau, Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Caddie: “Bryson was spectacular last season with three victories, including two in the playoffs. He’s had time to decompress after a busy end of season and his first Ryder Cup appearance. He should be ready to go in Vegas, where he’ll have good vibes from a T7 finish a year ago.”
3. Charles Howell III, RSM Classic
Caddie: “Always a solid pick. I expect his ball striking to shine if the forecast holds up for a windy weekend on the Seaside Course.”
4. Justin Rose, Farmers Insurance Open
Caddie: “He’s the No. 1 player in the world! When you reach that height, you’ve earned the right to be a favorite whenever you tee it up. Plus, he has always played well at Torrey Pines. I’m sure he would love to get a win for his caddie, Mark “Fooch” Fulcher, who is in the hospital recovering from heart surgery.”
5. Rickie Fowler, Waste Management Phoenix Open
Caddie: “In past years, it had been feast or famine at TPC Scottsdale for Rickie. He’s got some missed cuts, but he also finished alone in second in 2010 and 2016, tied for fourth in 2017 and finished T11 just last year. Recently, it’s been a feast. He’s the kind of player who can thrive in this kind of atmosphere. Last week’s T66 at Torrey Pines was his first start of the new calendar year. I think he shook the rust off and might be able to capture some magic at a place where he’s played well lately.”
6. Phil Mickelson, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Caddie: “His missed cut at TPC Scottsdale was surprising last week given his track record at that course. But I think he’ll bounce back this week. He loves Pebble, having won here on four occasions, most recently in 2012. Even at age 48, he can still carry it a long way. That’s always an advantage, but especially on a soft course. Combine the length with his knowledge and past success here (including a T2 last year) and I like his chances.”
7. Dustin Johnson, WGC-Mexico Championship
Caddie: “With current world No. 1 Justin Rose not playing this week, DJ looks hungry to get his No. 1 spot back and this is a great opportunity. He won there two years ago. He can take advantage of his length on this course. On some holes — with the high altitude in Mexico City — his great distance control with his wedges will be key to win this tournament again.”
8. Rory McIlroy, Players Championship
Caddie 1: “He’s taking some heat for not being able to finish events which is a complete joke. It’s hard to win, period. Just to be in that position most weeks shows how good he really is. He’s another guy who hits is so good. If he makes a few putts, look out.”
Caddie 2: “TPC Sawgrass is an iron players course — no ifs, buts or maybes. There’s no faking it with your approach shots this week. They have to be spot on, and with pins that can be hard to get to, hitting it high with impeccable distance control is a huge asset. This is Rory’s forte. He’s been thereabout for a while now, and on a big stage you know he thrives.”
9. Tiger Woods, The Masters
Caddie: “Sure, he’s 43 years old. Hasn’t won a major since 2008. Hasn’t won a Masters since 2005 when he won his fourth, but you cannot bet against the G.O.A.T. at Augusta National. He’s shown glimpses this season but hasn’t snagged a win since that incredible breakthrough last fall in the Tour Championship. He has played in the Masters 21 times previously. Seventeen of those starts have yielded a top-25 finish with 11 of those of the top-5 variety. Because of injury, this will mark just his third Masters start since 2013 – the last time he truly contended, finishing in a tie for fourth. He was the last guy to leave the property on Sunday evening. Tiger wants major win No. 15. He’ll have a great chance to get it this week.”
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10. Brooks Koepka, PGA Championship
Caddie 1: “He’s a guy who plays good every week and another one who’s game is set up nice for Bethpage. Bomb it and make a few putts. Right up Brooks’ alley. He’s also quickly becoming a major machine. Along with being the defending champ here this week, he’ll be the two-time defending U.S. Open champion next month at Pebble Beach. In 21 majors overall, Brooks has 15, top-25 finishes, including the seven top 10s, three of those being wins.”
Caddie 2: “Though weather shouldn’t be much of a factor during tournament play, the nastiness that hit this place at the start of the week softened up an already incredibly long course. That has to favor the bigger hitters and Brooks is among the best in that category. He’s not only long, but straight, too. He should eat this place up under the circumstances.”
Caddie 3: “He’s another player who will overpower the course in its wet and long conditions. Also doesn’t hurt that he’s the defending champ. The confidence and the game are there.”
11. Kevin Na, Charles Schwab Challenge
Caddie: “Kevin is one of the toughest players around and on a course where length isn’t a huge factor, I’d expect him to be right there. He’s got two recent, top-10 finishes here, including a solo fourth just last year. Don’t read much into his missed cut last week at Bethpage Black. That course was a beast and it was only Kevin’s third missed cut this season and first since Bay Hill at the beginning of March.”
12. Rory McIlroy, Tour Championship
Caddie: “Rory plays well there! He tied for seventh last year, won in 2016 and tied for second in 2014. I’ve said previously that he would be No. 1 in the world by year’s end. At No. 3 in the world, currently, I need him to win every time he plays for that to happen! He’ll start this week five back — a tall task, but one I think he can handle.”
We’ll be firing up the caddie picks again for the 2019-20 season to see if we can do even better!