Veteran caddie John Wood chats with TCN about new gig as NBC Sports on-course reporter
After more than two decades as a caddie on the PGA Tour for the likes of Kevin Sutherland, Mark Calcavecchia, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar and – most recently – Cameron Champ, John Wood has decided to follow in the footsteps of his good friend Jim “Bones” Mackay.
In December, it was announced that Wood – like Mackay has done since parting ways with Phil Mickelson in 2017 – would be joining NBC Sports as an on-course reporter beginning in 2021.
In a press release, Tommy Roy, lead golf producer for NBC Sports said, “We’re thrilled to add John Wood to NBC Sports’ rotation of on-course reporters. We first saw John’s on-air potential back in 2015, when he and Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay both joined us as on-course reporters at the RSM Classic and gave viewers their unique insights from a caddie’s perspective. John’s experience as a PGA Tour caddie for nearly two decades, combined with his passion and knowledge of the game, will be a great addition to our team during our busy slate of events in 2021.”
When the announcement was made, Wood was difficult to reach, as he was enjoying time camping in Yellowstone National Park. But we were finally able to track down the man who will have a very different role on the PGA Tour this year, beginning this week in Maui as he makes his debut with the microphone at Kapalua’s Plantation Course for the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
“I’m extremely excited for the new challenge,” Wood told TCN. “I’ve loved my career caddying, but just felt it was time to try something new. When this opportunity came along, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t spoken with Bones much about it. I kind of want to go in with a fresh, clear mind. But I’m sure as the year goes on I’ll have plenty of questions not only for Bones, but for Tommy Roy, Roger [Maltbie], Notah [Begay], Dan Hicks, Justin Leonard, Zinger, heck, everyone. I wanted to come in with hopefully my own style, but I’m certain I’ll be learning a lot from those guys. As Paul Westerberg said, ‘You can’t copy one person, because everyone will know. But if you steal from everyone, no one can put a finger on you.’ That’s my devious plan.”
Over the last few years, we’ve seen Bones jump in for the occasional spot-start as a caddie. Most recently, it happened in 2020 with England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick when his regular caddie – Billy Foster – had COVID-related travel issues getting from the U.K. to the U.S.
Bones also filled in on the bag of Justin Thomas for Jimmy Johnson (out with health issues) and the pair won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational together.
We asked Wood if — for him — caddying again was out of the question . He did not slam the door shut.
“Although I don’t have any concrete plans in place to caddie, I’d certainly be open to a fill-in week here or there as long as I wasn’t working that week for NBC/Golf Channel and it felt like a good opportunity,” he explained.
One bit of insight Wood believes he can bring to the table immediately is his ability to read the caddies.
“What I’m going to look out for is their body language and how they’re communicating and relating to their player,” he said. “You can discern a lot about what’s going on in a group or a specific player/caddie by their body language.”
Wood played college golf at the University of California-Berkeley, has caddied in a number of Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and was also on the bag for Kuchar when he took home the bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.