‘Nobody could make it’: How Tiger Woods’ caddie landed back on Tour this week
Given Tiger Woods’ limited playing schedule, his longtime caddie, Joe LaCava, has much free time between tournaments. And with the news of Woods’ latest surgery emerging on Wednesday, it looks like Woods’ next event could be months away at best as he rehabs his foot.
So it was likely an easy decision for LaCava to take up the bag for Steve Stricker at this week’s Zurich Classic — even if LaCava wasn’t Stricker’s first choice.
At his joint press conference with teammate Zach Johnson, Stricker told the amusing story of how he hired LaCava for the week.
“I asked his son first,” Stricker began. “I’ve had his son on my bag already this year. Delightful kid, Joe Jr. But he was working on the Korn Ferry Tour, I think for Brandon Hagy the next couple weeks and he couldn’t make it. I literally said, I can ask Joe, but I don’t think he’s going to want to come. Sixty-five-year-old guy, washed up Tour player. Do I really want to come all the way from New York down to New Orleans? So my thinking went away from Joe Sr. right away. I’m like, he’s not going to want to come here.
“I asked a bunch of people. I told him the story already. I asked a bunch of other guys and nobody could make it. My wife was on Joe Sr. the whole time. Just ask Joe, just ask Joe. Finally I asked him and he was like, oh, heck, yeah, I’ll come. I should have asked him right after I asked his kid, and now he’s upset I asked his kid first.”
LaCava’s son, Joe Jr., has been making a name for himself as a caddie since manning the bag for Woods’ son, Charlie, at the 2020, ’21 and ’22 PNC Championship. Joe Jr. also worked for his dad’s old boss, Fred Couples, as a fill-in. A solid stint with Hagy through Q-School led Joe Jr. to his current gig with Hagy on the Korn Ferry Tour — and the necessity of declining Stricker’s offer.
But luckily for Stricker, it all worked out.
“He’s such a great guy, fun to be with, easy to be with. Obviously is very good at what he does,” Stricker said of LaCava. “We’ve been having fun with him so far. And he’s friends with Zach and Zach’s caddie, Brian Smith, so it was — from his standpoint, I think he said it was an easy choice just to come here.”
Stricker will be part of a Ryder Cup grouping when he tees off alongside his teammate and current captain Zach Johnson on Thursday. Their playing partners: European captain Luke Donald and his vice captain Edoardo Molinari. The group starts the first round at 1:31 p.m. ET.