The unique advantage Wyndham Clark’s caddie had during U.S. Open win

wyndham clark and caddie read putt during the 2023 u.s. open

John Ellis was on the bag for Wyndham Clark during his 2023 U.S. Open win.

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Wyndham Clark‘s victory at Los Angeles Country Club last summer was a defining moment in the 30-year-old’s career. Prior to that victory, Clark had just a single PGA Tour win to his name. Leaving LACC, he was a household name, and, more importantly, a major champion.

“This one is surreal,” Clark said at the time. “It’s been a whirlwind of the last five, six weeks. It’s been — just so blessed and humbled to be here.”

Clark outlasted the field that week thanks to a combination of potent power off the tee and feathery touch around the greens. And by Sunday evening, all he needed was a par at the last to claim victory over Rory McIlroy by a shot.

But while Clark’s physical gifts were certainly the catalyst for his career-defining victory, he also had a secret weapon that few others in the field could boast: a caddie with U.S. Open experience.

John Ellis, Clark’s bagman for his entire pro career, is a former professional golfer himself, earning three wins on the Canadian Tour in 2008. During his career, Ellis even qualified for a couple U.S. Opens himself, in 2008 and 2011, giving him a particular inside-the-ropes experience that few professional caddies have.

“I remember last year when he went to LACC, I recommended flying in early the week before,” Ellis said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar. “That way we could get there Monday and just play nine and nine and be ready to play in the tournament.”

Ellis recalls that during his first U.S. Open in 2008, he played 18 holes three straight days before teeing it up on Thursday. By the time competition days rolled around, he was already worn out from his early-week preparation.

“Little things like that maybe I helped,” Ellis said. “But I can’t do the things that he could do, or any of those guys could do.”

Ellis might not be able to hit the shots that Clark hit en route to his win, but that doesn’t mean his role as caddie was overlooked. When meeting with the press after last summer’s win, Clark was quick to heap praise on his looper.

“He’s a great caddie, and he’s had opportunities to caddie for other people and he turned it down because he wanted to be there for me,” Clark said. “I owe a lot to him. I feel like John is meant to be my caddie, but it’s so much more than just a business relationship. We’re really close and good friends, and I’m close with his family and he’s close with mine.”

Check out the entire episode of Subpar below.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at

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