What makes the caddies for the world’s top 10 players so great at what they do

It should come as no surprise that the world’s top players currently have some of the best talent on their bags as well.

A good caddie can make a real difference for a player with potential, and one person who knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed as a player/caddie team is NBC broadcaster John Wood, who spent more than two decades as a professional caddie, including long stints with Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar.

On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Wood shared his take on what the caddies for the current World Top 10 really bring to the table.

Ted Scott, caddie for Scottie Scheffler: “He checks every box there is. He’s technically sound. He gets the right numbers, he does his homework, he’s got a ton of information. But he knows when to share that information and when to shut up.

“The other things about Ted that I think is probably very underrated is his sense of humor. Ted is a very, very, very funny guy, and a great storyteller. I can’t stress how important that is for some players to have that relief in between shots or waiting on a tee.”

Adam Hayes, caddie for Jon Rahm: “I think Adam is incredibly confident, and players can sense that. Adam Hayes is always immediately confident with a shot.”

J.J. Jakovac, caddie for Collin Morikawa: “Extremely well prepared. Tons of homework, very well spoken. I think he’s very clear and very concise in what Collin wants. He doesn’t go on and on and on.”

John Wood and Matt Kuchar
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Sam Pinfold, caddie for Cameron Smith: “I think their relationship is something special. Their friendship seems incredibly important to their success. To have somebody that you have that relationship with, and you know cares just as much about this shot as you do, or your wife does, probably more, I think that says a lot to your player.”

Matt Minister, caddie for Patrick Cantlay: “Unflappable. Just so solid. Another guy who was a really good player. I think he’s perfect for Patrick because Patrick is kind of a low-key guy, as is [Minister]. Their personalities fit really well.”

Shay Knight, caddie for Viktor Hovland: “Another guy who I always thought was extremely underrated. He’s very sharp. Always there with the right bit of advice immediately. He’s very opinionated in the right way.”

Harry Diamond, caddie for Rory McIlroy: “Their relationship is great. They had a deep relationship before he started caddying for him. I think Harry’s really grown into the role and he’s become a huge boon to Rory. Harry’s turned himself into a very good caddie.”

Jim “Bones” Mackay, caddie for Justin Thomas: “Arguably the greatest caddie of all time. Obviously, he’s had great players, no question about that. But it’s one thing to have a great player and it’s another thing to really work hard. Tons of homework all the time, extremely prepared. I think the world of Bones.”

Michael Greller, caddie for Jordan Spieth: “I feel like every caddie has the answer to 10 questions that never get asked. Michael gets asked all of them. And he’s always ready for them. He’s very even-keel. He doesn’t overreact. That’s Michael’s incredible gift.”

Austin Johnson, caddie for Dustin Johnson: “I didn’t think a ton of his caddying early on. I think he’s one of the best in the world now. I think he’s one of the best greens-readers out there. He’s incredible at Aimpoint now. He works his butt off.”

For more from Wood, including what caddies look for in a player, and what Wood notices now more than ever when he’s inside the ropes, check out the full interview below.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.