The Western Golf Association honored 27-year veteran caddie Jimmy Johnson with induction into the Caddie Hall of Fame on last week at the BMW Championship.
In a ceremony that included a fireside chat between broadcaster Jimmy Roberts and Johnson, the always unassuming veteran looper graciously accepted the honor.
“It’s something I’m very honored by and it makes me very proud,” Johnson — who began his caddying career in 1995 — told the Caddie Network. “It was surreal, actually. The whole thing. You never expect to be there. You just work your whole career and do your best and you never know if you’re going to be there. Then it just comes up on you and all of the sudden it just becomes reality.”
Johnson heard from many former players, including Nick Price by phone and during the ceremony in a tribute video. The two good friends hung out in Cabo San Lucas a few weeks back. Johnson refers to Price as a, “really good buddy,” even today.
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During Price’s video tribute at the induction, it was apparent he felt the same way towards Johnson.
“There really have been some great experiences we’ve shared together and I’m sure a lot of the other guys would agree you were such a huge asset to us on the bag,” Price said in the piece. “Your knowledge, experience, and just your nature — it was great being out there with you.
“Thanks for being such a great friend — a true and wonderful friend to me and my family over the years. No one deserves this honor as much as you do, my friend. Well done.”
The gratitude from Johnson’s former bosses didn’t stop with Price. Current Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker also chimed in on video during the ceremony.
“I’m so happy for you, and you were so instrumental in our great run of seven or eight years,” Stricker said. “The best thing about that run and what we’ve got going today is that we’re still friends and the best of friends. Congratulations, well deserved and enjoy it.”
Fellow caddies also chimed in on the video tribute and Paul Tesori talked with Caddie Network about how delighted he was for his friend fo the past 21 years.
“I’m very happy for Jimmy,” Tesori said. “He’s never changed. He’s the same guy today as when I met him in 2000. He’s calm and wise and has a high golf IQ.”
Tesori also helped paint a picture of what makes Johnson so good at his job during the video tribute.
“Jimmy’s one of those guys that nothing rattles him,” Tesori said. “If a guy’s having a bad day and getting mouthy with him or getting a little frustrated, Jimmy’s able to handle that. If a guy’s on a deep run, he just seems to be that same rock. If a guy’s not playing well, he’s that same rock. I think it takes a special personality to be be able to be that way, and Jimmy’s that guy.”
Of course, Johnson’s current boss Justin Thomas had nothing but great things to say about Johnson during the video tribute.
“There have been many times over my career where Jimmy’s not only helped me make the right decision, but helped me win tournaments too,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ father and coach Mike Thomas probably spends more time with Johnson and Justin than anyone else, so his perspective provides a lot of insight as well.
“I think what he brings to Justin is very good, he’s very low key,” Mike Thomas told Caddie Network. “When he first started with Justin, Justin was still pretty fiery. He’s gotten a lot more low key now. Jimmy just helped the maturation process and that’s an important team out there together and I think that they mesh well together, which is important as always.”
Mike Thomas was thrilled for his friend to get the HOF honor.
“That’s such a neat honor for him,” Thomas said. “He’s been out here a long time and caddied for a lot of successful players. He’s definitely a Hall of Famer.”