Jim “Bones” Mackay is one of the best caddies in golf. Over the course of his three-decade-plus career, he’s been a part of six major victories, two Players Championship wins and 12 Ryder Cups. When the conversation of greatest loopers of all time comes up, Mackay is always in the conversation.
The decades of caddying for Phil Mickelson and, in recent years, Justin Thomas, have afforded Mackay a wealth of knowledge of the ins and outs of his profession. But even as one of the all-time greats, there have still been some moments that made him cringe.
“I could tell you all kinds of stories,” Mackay told GOLF’s Claire Rogers on the latest episode of “The Scoop.”
Mackay explained that giving bad yardages or advice is always embarrassing, but the worst moment of all came way back in 1993, just after he began caddying for Mickelson.
After a couple rounds of poor play, Mickelson was a dozen shots behind the lead. But, in true Lefty fashion, the young pro made a spirited charge on the weekend. By Sunday afternoon, he was tied at the top of the leaderboard.
“He’s gone from 50th to tied for first,” Mackay said. “He’s in the last group on Sunday, and you have to walk through this tunnel underground to go to the 17th tee. Well, genius me, I decide that I’m going to go over it.”
Thinking he could save time getting to the tee box off the beaten path, Mackay began his trek over the hill. However, on the way down on the other side, things got a little dicey.
“All of the sudden, I see my ankles and my feet right in front of my face,” he said. “I tumble the last 30 or 40 feet. Get up, dust myself off, pick up the golf bag. I swear to you, there were six clubs in it. So now I have to find the other eight.”
By this time, Mickelson had made it to the 17th tee box. And when he saw his caddie walking up, it looked as though he’d been in a street fight.
“I show up, I’ve got a bloody lip, covered in dirt,” Mackay said. “He’s like, ‘Did you get mugged? What the hell happened?’ So anyways, that was embarrassing.”
Fortunately for Mackay, his boss went on to win the tournament by a stroke.
“If you’re out here long enough, all kinds of crazy things are going to happen to you,” Mackay said. “You’re gonna see it, and it’s gonna happen to you, so I’ve been through all that.”
You can check out the entire episode of The Scoop in the video above.