Patrick Cantlay explains how he hired Tiger Woods’ caddie

Patrick Cantlay

Patrick Cantlay and new caddie Joe LaCava made their debut at the Wells Fargo Championship.

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Tiger Woods parting ways with his longtime caddie Joe LaCava has become one of the biggest stories of the year.

Just two weeks after LaCava made headlines as a fill-in caddie for Steve Stricker at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, the news broke that LaCava would take up Patrick Cantlay’s bag permanently going forward.

Cantlay, the 2021 FedEx Cup champion and current World No. 4, has recently come under fire for his alleged slow play at the Masters.

On Wednesday ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, Cantlay explained how he ended up parting ways with his current caddie, Matt Minister, who had worked for him since 2017, and hiring LaCava.

“[Minister and I] accomplished a lot together and I’m really proud of all we accomplished,” Cantlay said. “He’s a great friend of mine and we had a lot of good finishes together and a lot of wins. So I’m incredibly grateful to him, just needed a change.”

Minister and Cantlay called it quits after the Zurich Classic, where Cantlay and his partner, Xander Schauffele, finished T4. Cantlay’s most recent win with Minister was last year’s BMW Championship.

As to how Cantlay landed on LaCava as a replacement? He said it came down to LaCava’s stellar reputation.

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“I’ve been friend with Fred Couples a long time, he’s been in Newport Beach for a number of years now and we’ve played a lot of golf together, so I’ve heard a number of great things about Joe,” Cantlay said. “You know, when I reached out to Joe, he said it was possible and ended up working out and I’m really happy about it.

“[LaCava’s] just a steady hand on the steering wheel,” he continued. “I know he’s been in every moment a caddie could be in and he’s just a good guy. So I’ve enjoyed the limited time that I’ve spent with him and feel confident that we’ll be a good team out there.”

LaCava and Woods had worked together since 2011, when Woods parted ways with Steve Williams. LaCava stood by Woods through several lengthy periods of time when Woods was recovering from injuries and not competing. Though LaCava occasionally caddied for others, like his old boss Fred Couples, it was infrequent, and generally a one-off.

“When this opportunity arose, I checked with Tiger,” LaCava told “And he said, ‘You’re crazy not to take the job, go forward, go win some tournaments, go have a great time.’”

When Cantlay was asked if he cleared the move with Woods, he said he had not.

“I haven’t spoken to Tiger,” he said.

Given Woods’ most recent surgery, it’s likely he won’t be competing again for several months, and perhaps longer. Woods has yet to comment publicly on the split with LaCava, though his agent, Mark Steinberg, told ESPN, “Joe called Tiger to ask him and get his approval. Of course, Tiger gave it. Tiger and Joe are like brothers, tremendous friends. You shouldn’t read anything more in to that other than Joe wants to caddie. He loves it. It’s his passion. He’s great at it and one of the best.”

Steinberg also said that Woods is currently resting and recovering and has no timeline to return to competition. Woods has not yet named a caddie replacement.

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