Sepp Straka borrowed Kevin Kisner’s caddie. Then he won. Now what?
HOYLAKE, England — If you’re watching this week’s Open Championship, you may notice one of the contenders has a familiar face on the bag.
If you can’t quite place Sepp Straka‘s caddie, that’s because this is just the pair’s second event together. But his name is Duane Bock and typically you’d see him with Kevin Kisner, who’s been his boss for the better part of a decade. Together they’ve comprised one of the most iconic duos on the PGA Tour, winning multiple events, contending in dozens more and qualifying for two different Presidents Cups.
But Kisner hasn’t been quite himself since the 2022 Presidents Cup; his best finish is T29 and his last six starts include four missed cuts and two WDs. The last time we saw Kisner he shot seven-over 42 on the front at the Travelers Championship before WDing with an undisclosed illness.
Now Kisner is taking some time away from the Tour. Why? He put it succinctly on Twitter last month: “Bc I suck right now,” he wrote.
As to the question of when he’ll return?
“When I can break par at home consistently.”
Long story short, Kisner’s caddie had some availability on his hands. And Kisner’s fellow Georgia Bulldog Sepp Straka was in search of a caddie and in search of some mojo, too, coming off a three-event stretch of MC-T38-T64.
Straka brought on Bock with the understanding the two would play the John Deere Classic and the Open Championship. It would be an understatement to say the Deere went well; Straka was on 59-watch on Sunday and eventually posted a final-round 62 to pull off an incredible come-from-behind victory, the second PGA Tour win of his career.
“At my best, I do feel like I can compete with anybody,” he said post-win.
His game traveled well across the pond, too, as did his new partnership. Through three rounds he sat at five under par, in a share of fourth place. He credited his game post-round but shouted out his new caddie, too.
“Yeah, I’ve known Duey for a while now since he caddied for a friend of mine, Kis,” he said. “And Kis is taking a little break so I figured I’d borrow him for a little bit. It’s worked out great. I love Duey. He’s a great caddie, and I’m really happy to have him on the bag.”
Straka explained that he appreciates Bock’s unwavering dedication to the task at hand.
“I think he does a great job of just sticking with one shot at a time. He’s a very professional guy and still likes to have a lot of fun out there, but whether I’m 2-over or playing great, he’s unchanged,” he said. “He’s great at just kind of not showing any sort of emotion one way or another. He’s on [to the] next shot, no matter what.”
It’s tough to imagine a better player-caddie start than a PGA Tour win followed by a top-five result at a major. So now what? Player-caddie relationships on the PGA Tour are a fascinating combination of short-term, long-term and uncertain in-between. This one’s new and so it’s understandably uncertain. But so far, so good.
Asked if he knew how long the pair planned to work together, Straka implied it was in that in-between zone.
“It’s not for sure, yeah,” he said. “To be determined — but for the foreseeable future.”
It’s not hard to understand why.