Her husband quit his job to caddie for her. Now she’s leading a major

Lauren Coughlin talks with her caddie at the Chevron Championship.

Lauren Coughlin's husband, John Pond, is on the bag this week.

Jack Hirsh/GOLF

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — John Pond was begging his wife, Lauren Coughlin, to let him caddie for her full-time.

The former University of Virginia football player had caddied for his better half “off and on” over the years, most recently at a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier in 2023. After Coughlin split from her longtime caddie after the Blue Bay LPGA in China in March, things lined up for Pond to take over her bag.

“He had just quit his job to come out with me full-time,” Coughlin said Thursday. “So I was like, ‘Okay, I will have you caddie for me Palos Verdes and then just see who I can get.’ I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll give you these three weeks. I’ll know after three weeks if we can do it.'”

The couple’s first start of the three-week trial resulted in mixed success as Coughlin missed the cut at the Seri Pak Championship and T-Moblie Match Play, but earned the fourth top-10 of her career with a T8 at the Ford Championship in between.

After a week off, it seems Pond has passed the test as he’s looping this week for his wife in the year’s first major at the Chevron Championship. Thursday, the husband-wife dynamic seemed to be clicking as Coughlin fired a bogey-free 66 to grab the early lead at The Club at Carlton Woods.

“There’s no one who knows me better than him, so just kind of keeping me cool and relaxed out there and calm and not getting too far ahead of myself at times or too down on something that happened before,” Coughlin said. “I know he can do all of the things that I need him to do. It’s more just — we’ve never spent that much time together, so it’s just like can I do that, can I have the boundaries that we need to have to where we’re not just constantly about me golf all the time, which of course I enjoy that he cares that much, but it’s just like I don’t always love it always being about me and my golf game specifically.”

When Coughlin had begun looking for a new caddie, Pond had just quit his job to come out on Tour with his wife full-time. She said he’s been serving in a bit of a “managerial role” helping her make travel arrangements and such.

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There are other benefits, too.

“[We can] spend more time to get to travel the world and do a lot of really cool things that we might not get to do forever, and to do it while we still can,” Coughlin said. “I was fortunate enough position to where we could do it, and it wouldn’t put too much strain on us financially or anything like that.

“He was always like, ‘Worst case; If after a year we don’t like it, I can go back and get a job again.'”

On Thursday, Coughlin teed off in the first group of the day on the back nine. Their group set the pace for much of the day before coming to a “standstill” on the 6th hole, their 15th, when they caught the last morning wave group off No. 1.

That’s when Pond’s husband proved his value.

“I feel like I got a little bit out of rhythm there,” she said. “But he was like, ‘Hey, it’s fine, we’re in no rush, you don’t need to try to go too fast or anything like that.'”

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