From sleeping in motorway bushes to a rousing rendition of happy birthday from a packed major championship crowd, a caddie’s life is never dull.
After Open champion Collin Morikawa hoisted the Claret Jug, he touchingly asked the swarms of sunbaked fans to help celebrate his caddie’s — JJ Jakovac — 39th birthday, the Kent golfing faithful duly responding with a merry song.
Caddies are never far from the spotlight and have a unique perspective into the world of professional, high-level sport.
Whether it’s 10-year-old Eddie Lowery at the 1913 US Open — who helped amateur Francis Ouimet to a famous victory against giants of the game Harry Vardon and Ted Ray and then went on to become a multi-millionaire — or Fanny Sunesson as the first female caddie to win a men’s major while on Nick Faldo’s bag at the 1990 Masters, it’s a job like no other.
“My little caddie, Eddie Lowery … not much bigger than a peanut, was a veritable inspiration all around; and a brighter or headier chap it would be hard to find,” Ouimet wrote for The American Golfer.
“(Eddie’s) influence on my game, I cannot overestimate.”
There’s a treasure trove of caddie stories out there, like the hapless fellow who is responsible for the name of the 10th hole — called South America — at the Women’s British Open host course, Carnoustie.
Legend has it he drunkenly boasted he was emigrating to the distant continent the following day, only to be found in the morning asleep on the green.
And so the hole acquired its unique name.
Veteran caddie Billy Foster — the Englishman who has worked with Gordon Brand Jr., Seve Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods at the 2005 Presidents Cup and currently Matt Fitzpatrick, has seen it all in nearly 40 years of caddying.
He recalled what the profession was like in the 1980s — sleeping in tents, buses and even a bush on a French motorway one night, living without a mobile phone or credit card, no yardage books and even standing in the middle of a driving range catching other players’ balls trying not to get hit.
“The goalposts have slightly changed,” he told CNN Sport.
“There were no yardages back then, so you had to get there on the Monday and draw your own yardage book with the trundle wheel. That took seven to eight hours alone.”
Sunesson, like Foster, told CNN in 2018 that she took up caddying as a means to travel and see places.
“There was no thought then of making any money in the game whatsoever,” added Foster, who said nowadays ex-pros consider the career choice.
Even three-time grand slam tennis champion Andy Murray is keen on the idea of caddying — although as a perfectionist, there might be one aspect to the job that could keep him up at night.