TCN exclusive: Q&A with Brittany Lincicome’s caddie Missy Pederson
When two-time major champion Brittany Lincicome teed it up last Thursday in the Barbasol Championship, the 32-year-old became just the sixth female in history to compete in a PGA Tour event.
Lincicome, who boasts eight victories on the LPGA, is also known as one of the longest hitters on that Tour, so much so, she’s been given the nickname “Bam-Bam.”
She actually at least once out-drove the men in her group – Sam Ryder and Conrad Shindler.
On the bag for Lincicome at Barbasol and for the last five years, including a major win in the 2015 ANA Inspiration, was Missy Pederson.
This is Pederson’s 11th season as a caddie.
Believe it or not, Pederson – who hails from Minneapolis – had never played golf until college. But after a move to Florida in 2004, she caught the bug and got good enough as a player that she made it to the Futures Tour.
It was there that Pederson came to a couple of realizations: 1. She probably didn’t have the aptitude to play golf at the highest level; 2. She actually preferred caddying and knew she could be valuable to players at the highest level in that capacity.
Following Lincicome’s trip to the Barbasol Championship, resulting in a missed cut with rounds of 78-71, The Caddie Network (TCN) tracked Pederson down for a Q&A.
TCN: You’ve been caddying for Brittany five years now. How did the two of you meet?
Pederson: I’ve been a caddie on the LPGA for quite some time now. It’s a traveling circus with the same people week in and week out. I had been in groups paired with Brittany a bunch of times and we’d see each other a lot in airports and things like that.
It just so happened about five years ago that she needed a caddie and the timing was also right for me.
TCN: This past week was a big deal – just the sixth time in history that a female played in a PGA Tour event. Did Brittany seek any advice from people like Michelle Wie and Annika Sorenstam beforehand, people who have done it before?
Pederson: You know, she spoke to Annika the night before. We’ve played with Michelle a few times since Brittany found out she’d be playing in the Barbasol, so they had various conversations about what to expect.
Annika and Michelle both offered great advice and Brittany took it all in. But one thing that Brittany does a great job of is making an experience her own. She took everything Annika and Michelle had to say into consideration, but since her style and personality are a little different, she made the experience her own.
TCN: Surely there had to be nerves and butterflies for Brittany on her first hole Thursday. But what was it like for you as the caddie?
Pederson: Honestly, I felt the exact same as I do at an LPGA event when we’re in contention. My whole job is to maintain that base level emotion. I tried to focus on what I needed to do. Of course, it’s easier for me since I don’t have to hit the shot.
For my job, as long as I can have the information I need to help Brittany manage her game and get around, there’s no need for nerves. I didn’t feel any.
TCN: OK, so no nerves for you, but how different was the overall experience at a PGA Tour event compared to what you’re used to on the LPGA?
Pederson: That’s really a great question. I’ve spent the last couple of days comparing and contrasting just that in my head.
From the golf aspect and the interaction and preparation, it’s all the same.
Most weeks, we don’t have 10 hours of media – so there’s a big difference! That was a different environment, for sure. Britt doesn’t spend a lot of time at the course. She usually plays nine holes in a practice round, followed by 30 minutes on the range and we’re out of there.
But last week, understandably, she had a bunch of media. That was vastly different. It gave us an appreciation of what it’s like for Tiger every week. We don’t have that crazy media attention all the time on the LPGA. It can be exhausting.
Brittany loved doing it last week and I thought she did a phenomenal job with it… but we don’t have that week to week.
TCN: Brittany shot a 6-over 78 in Round 1, but then you guys bounced back with a tremendous 1-under 71 in Round 2 that included a hole-out for eagle on 17. How good was that second round and where does that eagle hole-out rank in terms of career highlights as a caddie for you?
Pederson: I think Brittany was very pleased. I was very pleased. We both knew the 1-under round could have been better. We missed a couple chips, but it’s the same with that every week, right? You’re always asking: What could we have done better?
Shooting 78 in Round 1 was not ideal. She expected more. But under those conditions and then coming back with the under-par round shows what she’s made of. She loves to compete and isn’t overly concerned with people’s perception.
As for that eagle from 116 yards out on the par-5 17th – let me tell you – that was a great hole to have an eagle on. There are grandstands there and a bunch of people around. Brittany was playing well and to hit that shot was impressive. I’m constantly impressed by her.
TCN: What was the reception like from other players and caddies?
Pederson: It was absolutely fantastic. Everyone made it feel like a normal week. They all treated us like professionals. That’s what we do every week. I appreciated that. They didn’t go out of the way to treat us differently. They were so respectful. We played with Sam Ryder and Conrad Shindler and honestly couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. They were friendly. It was so normal and natural.
TCN: Overall, what did you think of Brittany’s performance? Was it as good or better than you expected?
Pederson: You know, I wasn’t certain what the course or conditions would be like beforehand, so I didn’t really have expectations.
But once we got there and saw the course, it was beyond my expectations with Britt. The interaction with fans was incredible. She blossomed under the scrutiny and pressure. That’s going to be very good for us in events going forward. We go into every round wanting to hit fairways and greens. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But this was beyond my expectations.
TCN: You touched on it briefly, but how much do you think this experience on the PGA Tour will help you and Brittany in pressure situations going forward on the LPGA?
Pederson: Oh, I definitely think it’ll be an advantage.
TCN: What impressed you most about Brittany at Barbasol?
Pederson: I was most impressed to watch how Brittany was able to still focus and work on what we needed to, to play well, but also not forget about the fans, sponsors, volunteers, the little kids that didn’t understand you couldn’t get autographs during the round on the walk from 7 to 8… Brittany signed anyway. She’s one of the best on the LPGA of balancing all that and thanking everyone who makes these tournaments possible.
She did that here too.
TCN: Personally, what will you remember most from the Barbasol Championship?
Pederson: So many things. All in all, I’ll remember it for the test. The test of not just physical and length of her game, but the mental and the emotional test. I’ll use it in the future to draw upon experiences of what you can really do if you embrace a situation and not be scared of what may or may not happen.
Ultimately, if the score doesn’t reflect your expectation, it’s OK. But it was a week I’ll never forget and I know it’ll be invaluable for years to come.