LPGA winner, 4-time Solheim Cup player Caro Masson talks about importance of caddies
Caddies are optional for players on the LPGA Tour for the remainder of 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Germany’s Caro Masson, a winner on both the LPGA and LET, as well as being a member two winning European Solheim Cup teams (and four teams, total), couldn’t imagine playing a tournament at this stage in her career without a caddie.
Masson, along with LPGA loopers Jason McDede (Masson’s fiancé) and Les Luark joined this week’s ‘Under the Strap’ podcast to cover several topics, most notably the LPGA’s decision to make caddies optional for the rest of the year.
Though the option is intended to focus on local caddies – which Luark estimated is only 2-3 per tournament – many caddies believe that players could use the option as a loophole to save money and not take a caddie this season.
Masson won’t be one of those players.
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The 31-year-old turned pro in 2009 after spending one year at Oklahoma State University. Her career highlight came in 2016 when she won the Manulife LPGA Classic – a victory she credits to the confidence instilled in her by then caddie Danny Sharp.
“Thinking about my win – Danny Sharp was on my bag and I remember the 16th hole was a par 5,” Masson recalled. “I was right on the bubble getting it on there in two. I hit a pretty good drive and I needed pretty much the best 3-wood I could hit to get it there. Not that it was a super hard shot, but – you know – we knew we were up there [on the leaderboard] and sometimes it’s hard to make a decision like that to go for it or not. Danny totally convinced me that this is the right play and it was probably one of the best 3-woods of my life. It went to the middle of the green, I almost made the putt for eagle, putted in for birdie and then parred in from there and won the tournament. So, the caddies are so important in so many ways. This was an example for making a decision to hit a certain shot or a certain club.”
Masson also said that having a good caddie makes big moments on the course even more special, having accomplished them as a team.
“I think it’s been huge,” said Masson of having a good caddie. “My win that I had on the LPGA Tour and Solheim Cup moments, I kind of associate that with something we’ve done really, really well that week that maybe made the difference.”
Having a caddie at the highest level isn’t only about getting yardages, reading putts and raking bunkers.
For Masson, a good caddie also helps a lot between the ears.
“I think on the mental side, it’s always fun to have a teammate out there,” she said. “They’re a huge part of keeping us in the game, making the right decision at the right time. Sometimes, I think as a player, it’s easy to panic, to be honest with you. I think if things don’t go your way and you don’t have somebody that calms you down and maybe opens up a different view for you, you won’t decide a certain way as a player. It’s been a cool ride. I’ve had more caddies than I actually wanted to, but I’ve gotten to a lot of different guys and everybody brings so much to the table. It’s a really, really special relationship when you click on a personal and on a golf level and it changes your game totally from amateur.”
While caddies will be an option for LPGA players the rest of this year, Masson encourages young players who might be thinking of hoofing their own bags to reconsider.
“After 10 years of having a caddie, I couldn’t imagine doing it myself,” she said. “It’s hard. But it makes it a lot easier if you have someone that knows what they’re doing, supporting you and being by your side good or bad.”
You can listen to the complete podcast with Caro Masson, Les Luark and Jason McDede in the player at the top of the page, or find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher by searching “Caddie Network.”
Seems to me that most LPGA players (and some PGA players…does Jordan come to mind) are afraid to pull the trigger until their caddie tells them it is OK to do. Checking their stance, reading their putts…what next …13 clubs with training grips. Correct stance and reading greens is an art as is a correct grip. Let ALL Pro tours use a range finder, carry or push-pull their own cart…no greens book. I want to watch golf shoot, not two minute conversations between caddie and player… penalize slow play after a first warning and most likely finish within 4 hours. Could be a way of GROWING THE GAME..