How Joe LaCava messed with Vijay Singh’s ‘caddie rule’ at the Masters

joe lacava vijay singh

Joe LaCava and Vijay Singh exchanged some memorable words on the first green at Augusta National.

Getty Images

Among PGA Tour caddies, Joe LaCava held some legendary status long before he started looping for Tiger Woods. That came from professionalism, success, confidence, and for picking his spots with a sharp sense of humor.

So when several of LaCava’s caddie peers got together earlier this week to talk shop on SiriusXM, it was inevitable that his name would come up. John Wood (caddie for Matt Kuchar), Joe Skovron (caddie for Rickie Fowler), Michael Greller (caddie for Jordan Spieth) and Paul Tesori (caddie for Webb Simpson) sat in with with SiriusXM’s Carl Paulson and Dennis Paulson as part of a series called Sports from the Sidelines.

Egged on by Tesori — who insisted he had his former boss’ permission to tell the story — Wood launched into a story harkening back to the early 2000s. At the time, Tesori was caddying for Vijay Singh, while LaCava was still on the bag for Fred Couples.

tiger woods mike taylor golf clubs

How one man’s instincts changed Tiger Woods’ irons forever

By: Sean Zak

Tesori started working for Singh in 2000. “Obviously he’s known for work ethic and, y’know, maybe some sketchy personality traits at times, he was always pretty good to me outside the ropes, inside the ropes he could be tough.”

He lets Wood take it from there; we’ll do the same.

John Wood: “Vijay had a rule, y’know, he was No. 1 in the world and he had a couple rules for his caddie at the time, who was Paul [Tesori]. You couldn’t eat on the course, you couldn’t talk to other people and what was the third — you couldn’t use the restroom?”

Paul Tesori: “I could use the restroom and eat at the turn, between 9 and 10, that was it.”

Wood: “Big thing was you couldn’t talk to the other caddies and players — you were with Vijay. So of course Joe LaCava, who, if anyone knows anything about Joe, there’s more good stories about Joe than the rest of us combined. We’re on the first hole at Augusta, and of course Joe knows this rule so as soon as they both tee off, where’s Joe? Shoulder-to-shoulder with Paul, walking up the fairway.

“‘Hey, where ya staying, Paul? Where’d ya eat last night, Paul? Hey, you been practicing late, Paul? Hey, how’s the family, Paul?’

“Paul’s, y’know, sunglasses on, walking straight forward, not even looking. Just doing his job. So they both get to their balls, Fred hits up on the green, Vijay hits up on the green, soon as they replace their divots, there’s Joe again.

Vijay Singh and Paul Tesori at the 2002 Masters.

Getty Images

“‘Hey, what’d you guys hit there? What do you got that wind doing, Paul?’ Just right in his ear, trying to get him to talk and trying to get him in trouble. So they get up on the green and Fred’s putting and Vijay kinda sidles up to Joe, says, ‘What’re you doing, bro? Trying to get my man in trouble? He’s not supposed to talk to anybody, leave him alone!’

“And Joe, y’know, Oakleys on, staring straight ahead, doesn’t even acknowledge Vijay’s walked up to him and looking straight forward, Joe just says, ‘Bro, if you don’t get away from me, I’m gonna drop you right here on the 1st green.’

“And I think Vijay had so much respect for that he just backed off and laughed.”

Tesori: “Yeah, he did. True story. And Vijay really liked Joe after that, too. He liked guys that would kinda go right to the edge with him.”

The entirety of the exchange is worth a listen on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio here.

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, where he’s told the story of a strange cave in Mexico, a U.S. Open qualifier in Alaska and plenty in between. Dethier joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. He is a Williamstown, Mass., native and a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English. Dethier is the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.