‘It’s my call’: Farmers winner shunned caddie’s advice in decisive moment

Matthieu Pavon talks with his caddie over a crucial shot at the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open

Matthieu Pavon and his caddie discuss his approach shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

On Saturday evening at the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open, PGA Tour rookie Matthieu Pavon captured the first win of his career, also becoming the first French PGA Tour winner in history. But it almost all came undone on Torrey Pines’ iconic 18th hole, where Pavon’s risky decision to ignore his caddie’s advice actually saved the day.

Arriving at the 18th tee, Pavon was starting to show signs of cracking, having missed a short putt at 17 to drop a shot. Still, he held a one-shot lead over Nicolai Højgaard with only one hole standing between him and achieving an unlikely dream.

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“I just saw Nicolai {Højgaard] striping down the drive 300-plus yards in the middle and I was like OK, it’s going to be spicy now, I might have to do a birdie or something special,” Pavon said following his round.

But the pressure was too much, and Pavon lost his ball to the left, ending up in a tricky lie against the lip of a fairway bunker. The only option was to try to get it back into the fairway and go for the par-5 with his third shot. But that one didn’t go well either.

“My ball didn’t fade from the tee and then I end up a little bit against that lip,” Pavon shared. “All I can do is play a 52 degrees so I kind of try to get back to the fairway, put my ball back in play and I missed that. I don’t know actually if my ball just hit the lip and came left or it was just a bad shot. Anyway, it’s done.”

Now things were truly getting “spicy.” After making contact with the lip, Pavon’s ball only made it 100 yards forward and settled down into some thick rough.

That’s when Pavon’s caddie, Mark Sherwood, stepped in to try and talk some sense into his reeling pro. Sherwood wanted Pavon to lay up, go for the green with his fourth and try to make par. That way he would avoid rinsing his ball in the pond guarding the front of the green, which would surely end his title hopes.

But Pavon wasn’t having any of it, knowing Højgaard could make birdie, he wanted to go for it and try to make birdie for the win.

“We see Nicolai hitting the green and my caddie was like, ‘OK, we should probably lay up and get ourselves a wedge and kind of try to make par and get a playoff or something.’ I was like, listen, Woody, like the lie doesn’t look too bad, I feel like I can do it. He said, ‘OK, but it’s your call’ (Laughs.)”

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“It’s my call. And I was so pumped at that time, I know I had the energy to lift that ball up on the green,” Pavon continued. “I kind of aimed to the middle of the green knowing the face would close a little bit because it’s quite deep and thick.”

It turns out the caddie veto was the right call. Pavon laced a beauty that finished seven feet from the cup, then drained his birdie chance to beat Højgaard, who also made birdie, by one.

“That ball came out like a butterfly and it really feed the slope on the green and left myself a nine-footer or something,” Pavon reflected after the round. “That was the right time to prove I have the guts to finish that tournament and I did it so I’m so happy about that last hole.”

Guts, indeed. With the victory, Pavon not only earned a hefty $1.62 million payday, he also secured his PGA Tour status for years and his place in golf’s signature events.

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