Tiger Woods’ caddie at Hero World Challenge a longtime friend, confidante
Over the course of Tiger Woods’ nearly three-decade career on the PGA Tour, he has employed only three primary caddies: Mike “Fluff” Cowan, Steve Williams and Joe LaCava. Those three loopers were on the bag for all but one of Woods’ 82 PGA Tour wins (and 15 career major championships).
The outlier? Woods’ win at the 1999 Buick Invitational, when Woods’ friend Byron Bell stepped in as a fill-in caddie before Williams took over the job.
Woods and LaCava, his most recent caddie, spent 12 years together, and officially parted ways earlier this year as Woods focused on recovering from his latest surgery, a subtalar fusion procedure, in the wake of his WD from the third round of the Masters. After serving as a fill-in caddie for Steve Stricker, LaCava sought Woods’ blessing to start working with Patrick Cantlay full-time.
“When this opportunity arose, I checked with Tiger,” LaCava told PGATour.com. “And he said, ‘You’re crazy not to take the job, go forward, go win some tournaments, go have a great time.’”
With Woods making his first competitive start since the Masters at this week’s Hero World Challenge, there was much hypothesizing about who he would have on the bag. And it didn’t take long for the topic to come up in Woods’ pre-tournament press conference. The answer isn’t a big surprirse, with Woods tapping longtime friend and confidante Rob McNamara.
“I’ve got Rob this week, he’s seen me hit a few shots,” Woods said.
The pairing is a natural fit. McNamara has been by Woods’ side at many tournaments over the years, and currently serves as VP of TGR Ventures, the umbrella company that encompasses Woods’ off-course pursuits like TGR Design, the TGR Foundation, TGR Live and The Woods sports bar in Jupiter, Fla.
Given McNamara’s other duties for Woods, it seems likely the match-up won’t be a permanent pairing. Woods admitted that he’s not sure what he’ll end up doing next year, and shut down speculation that perhaps his 14-year-old son, Charlie, might take on the job.
“As far as next year, I don’t know yet. I don’t think Charlie’s going to be able to caddie. Can’t play hooky that often,” Woods said. “I don’t know. Honestly, I really don’t know. I was just looking forward to this week and seeing how things turned out. I’m curious to see what 72 holes looks like on the body and my game and then try and set a schedule going forward into next year.”