TCN EXCLUSIVE: Caddie Joe LaCava details aftermath of Tiger’s Masters win
As a caddie, there’s no bigger win than at the Masters.
For Joe LaCava, Sunday’s triumph at Augusta National marked his first time since 1992, when he was on the bag for Fred Couples. LaCava helped his boss since 2011, Tiger Woods get to five green jackets Sunday, second-best in Masters history, just one behind the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
LaCava and Woods shared a moment on 18 green with Tiger’s emotional, “we did it!” yell, but the two also had a short exchange in the scoring area minutes later.
LISTEN: NEW 2020 Masters edition podcast with Joe LaCava, Ted Scott and Damon Green
“We just kind of looked at each other and soaked it all in,” LaCava said in a phone interview on Thursday.
“It was still only seven minutes since he putted out and it’s hard to take it all in at that point, but we just took a deep breath. Nothing was really said. He basically said, ‘we did it,’ again. But we got to share the moment and smile at each other. It was such an achievement, a proud moment more than anything.
RELATED: Joe LaCava talks about Tiger’s Masters-winning ‘we did it’ moment
“Nothing needed to be said because we could read each other’s minds.”
Understandably, LaCava’s phone has been blowing up with messages since the epic win.
When he finally got to his phone Sunday night he had 670 text messages.
Tiger did send a message that said, ‘We did it, appreciate you hanging in there with me, I love you like a brother.’ — Joe LaCava
And between that and the ones he’s received since, some key sentiments have stood out.
Why not start with the player LaCava first won the Masters with, Couples?
“He was texting me all week,” LaCava said. “Believe it or not he told me, ‘I’m just so excited for you,’ Sunday after the fact, ‘If not more excited than when I won in ’92.’ That’s just who he is. And he’s always loved Tiger throughout the years.”
Couples plays with Tiger during most practice rounds at Augusta.
“Fred and I have had a great relationship and continue to have a great relationship and I think what he did there with me is why everybody loves Fred, because he’s thinking about (Tiger and I) versus his huge deal in 1992.”
Other big names included Chris Mara, Senior VP of Player Personnel, of LaCava’s beloved New York Giants.
MORE: 27 years later, Joe LaCava is once again a Masters-winning caddie
“Chris and I have become pretty good friends the last few years, and he’s a huge golfer,” LaCava said. “We always kid with each other and go back and forth.
“His message was quick and easy, ‘Nice going big boy,’ and for me, I love that he checked in.”
Fellow Connecticut golfer and more famously ESPN’s longtime anchor, Chris Berman, also sent some thoughtful messages to LaCava.
“Berman said, ‘Nice going, happy for you, glad you stayed the course, it’s great to watch’.”
LaCava’s fellow caddies took notice of his accomplishment as well and the 55-year-old appreciated the various texts he got from the guys.
“It’s been terrific,” he said. “Obviously when the player does well, the caddie does too. So I got so many nice texts. Many of my fellow caddies basically said, ‘great going, it’s awesome that you stuck around through thick and thin. Some guys may not have done it.’”
READ: Here’s what caddies are saying about Tiger’s Masters win
LaCava is a huge hockey fan, and two of his retired New York Rangers buddies — Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards — couldn’t resist texting their friend after his unforgettable moment in the sports spotlight.
“They were stoked to watch us win,” LaCava said. “You know how these former athletes are, all they ever want to do is play golf and become even better golfers once they retire, but yeah they were so happy to see us win Sunday.”
And in the aftermath and few days since the win, what kind of messages has LaCava exchanged with his boss?
After all, this is a new feeling for Woods again after waiting to win a major since Torrey Pines, the same week the Boston Celtics’ “Big Three” won the Larry O’Brien over Kobe Bryant’s Lakers.
“Tiger did send a message that said, ‘We did it, appreciate you hanging in there with me, I love you like a brother,’” LaCava said. “And I sent one back very similar to that. Hopefully we’ll have a nice sit-down dinner and rehash everything at the next tournament and not necessarily celebrate it, but enjoy it and reminisce a little bit.”
LaCava had his chance Sunday to reminisce in the form of a couple parties starting late afternoon when Woods’ TGR VP Rob McNamara invited him to Butler Cabin with the Woods family, some of the Nike folks, and his wife Megan.
“I’m not a Butler Cabin kind of guy,” LaCava told McNamara, but he eventually did go, in his sweaty, battle-worn Saquon Barkley t-shirt and shorts.
The party then segued to a large room near the clubhouse, which LaCava estimates had about 300 people, many of whom were in green jackets and formal wear.
LaCava reminded himself that he was wearing a grungy t-shirt, but the party must go on.
Perhaps it was fitting that the humble, hard-working LaCava wore a ‘blue-collar’ to the formal gathering.
And the party did go on later that night as LaCava joined a few local Augusta National caddies at Hooters on Washington Road a few blocks from the course, the same one where John Daly parks his motorhome, entertaining crowds all week.
The next night back, April 15, at home in Connecticut, LaCava went to dinner with his tax guy and some friends to celebrate the end of tax season.
“Ninety-nine percent of the conversation was about Sunday at Augusta,” LaCava said.
Barkley t-shirt reasoning
Social media had a blast discussing LaCava’s choice of the Barkley t-shirt underneath his white Masters caddie jumpsuit.
So why was Saquon the lucky choice for the momentous occasion?
“Got to go with the new kid in town,” LaCava said. “He could be the best player in the NFL. He could really be our guy for the next eight or 10 years hopefully, and my kid loves him, my whole family loves him, so I just went with the Saquon t-shirt.”
And there may be a response on the way.
“Through the Nike people (I heard) he was pretty pumped up that I was out there sporting his t-shirt,” LaCava said. “Chris Mara was nice enough to text me and say the same thing.
“I think they said there’s a little something on the way (to me), and they were looking for my address which is completely unnecessary, but yeah I’m pretty pumped.”
On to a major venue for the PGA, where Tiger has won before
So what will the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black be like for LaCava and Woods with the loud New York fans, who saw Tiger win there in 2002 at the U.S. Open and come very close in a six-place finish in 2009’s U.S. Open?
“I can’t even imagine,” LaCava said, he knows how loud his fellow Giants fans can get, even on a golf course. “I think the atmosphere is going to be off the hook after winning the Masters. I think it would be anyways because the New York crowds are very enthusiastic, and I can’t wait because the PGA of America is probably going to come up with some awesome threesome grouping for us.
“Tiger with two other big names like Brooks, Dustin kind of thing or Tiger, Rory, and J.T… it’s just going to be an incredible grouping. That will be off the hook, too.”
Nice piece Garrett….that is Jumpin Joe… transparent & has always maintained his just ordinary an kind of guy persona..known him for 30 plus years…
Genuine as can be…dispite being a Giants & Yankee fan….😳
Too bad Joe is not a JET fan! Airtime for the Giant logo on his yardage book has GOT to be worth season tickets! Congrats to you, the average golfers hero!
I love you Tiger! I’ve always loved you, especially when you really needed it. From an 80-year old Woman, You make me feel young again!
Tiger’s self belief,work ethics, family, friends and fan support were totally rewarded through his Masters win. What a joy to see on tv all the way down under in New Zealand. Good vibes noticed between Tiger and caddie a great recipe for success. Congratulations Tiger and caddie .
this guy is truly transparent and doesnt have an ego. Tiger should be happy to br with a dudes dude as a caddy.
My late husband who passed waiting on a liver transplant , loved to play golf and never missed a Sunday watching you. I cheered you on for the both of us. We are both so proud!
Tiger I was like a cat on a hot tin roof watching the 4th round.First page of the leader board was scary good.You did it.Joe LC is a class guy on the bag.In my home in the UK was floods of tears when the final putt went in.This was the best comeback ever.
Wonderful Tiger..Well deserved win.Love watching you on tv,so calm and respectful of others.
Im a very amateur golfer((l do try) You inspire people all over the world..just watching you is a thrill.
Lin . UK
Lacava is clearly an ole school legend baby!
Tiger I can barely watch you nowadays because when you come to a putt, my whole being transformed. If you miss my entire body aches when you hit I’m so elated that the joy that runs through my veins is too much to overcome…i love you my brother
The Masters win and seeing Tiger say, “we did it” (reading his lips), to Joe was the icing on the cake for a 70 yr old woman waiting for Tigers next Major win and being grateful I am alive to witness it. It is lovely to see Tiger grow from an ultra talented kid to a gracious and grateful champion. I for one, very grateful that Tiger is sharing more of himself with all of us watching and pulling for him. In his youth, wins and Majors were almost a given. Now, achieving his 15th after all he has been through and had to hear from the naysayers, is the best. I just found this Caddie site and love the interview with Joe. Thank You
Tigers a lucky man to have a friend and caddie like Joe who has stood with him through thick and thin! Can’t wait to see what happens in the future! Good luck TeamTiger!
Joe, You and Tiger win the next 3 Majors! I have a really weird feeling that you and Tiger will do it. Nicklaus said he was shaking in his Boots 🥾 let’s give him a reason to really shake! I like Jack, but Tiger has it all!! God only knows what could have been! Love U both! Pottsy
It is so awesome that one individual who uses a key tool of less than 4 inches in size and diameter can impact the lives of so many different cultures and bring them to such happiness and togetherness in an entire World on one amazing day in our lives.
Tiger’s winning of the 2019 Masters was truly an amazing dream come true.
TRANSLATION: Keep chasing your dream(s).
Man, you are Man!!1!
Congrats..Y’all make golf fun again!
Tiger – You are the best! Keep up the good work. Congradulations on your 5th Masters Win. You have proven again that you still have a lot to offer young people and others in the Golf World. You deserve to walk with your head up and be proud! You mean so much to the game of Golf.
P.S. I am 83 year old man and have followed you throughout your career.
BIG congratulations to you Tiger and the best caddie in the world Joe LaCava. Tiger you inspired me to golfing; watching you playing at Augusta thought me that all we needed to succeed in life is to apply fundamental human philosophy which is “STAY FOCUS”. This is what you demonstrated throughout the whole game. Once again, congratulations and I wish you all best.