Tiger Woods plans to play a lot of golf this season, for the first time in ages. Tiger’s even-par opening round at Torrey Pines gave Tiger fans plenty to get excited about too, especially when he missed an ace at No. 16 by just inches (see below). But even the most diehard Tiger fan isn’t as excited as Tiger’s caddie Joe LaCava. Sure, Tiger and his old caddie Steve Williams made history together before a breakup and a falling out — and it’s Williams most people think of when they think of vintage Tiger Woods. But it’s LaCava who has been on Tiger’s bag for years — whenever Tiger has played, that is.
Knowing the volatility of the caddie business and his own uncertain future, Tiger encouraged LaCava to pick up another player’s bag while he rehabbed and found his way back to form. LaCava declined the offer, staying with Woods despite the golf public’s doubts and uncertainty about Woods’ future. And despite Tiger’s own doubts too.
LaCava’s loyalty isn’t hurt by the loyalty Woods has shown the caddie, keeping him on full salary while he plots and grinds his way back into competitive golf. And LaCava, with his nearly three decades on the Tour caddie circuit, knows a winner when he sees one. LaCava has carried the bag for Fred Couples, Davis Love, Justin Leonard, and Dustin Johnson to name just a few Grand Slam winners who have hired LaCava. (LaCava was on the bag for Couples’s 1992 Masters win, and he sure would like to be on the bag for Tiger’s 2018 Masters victory.)
LaCava was on the bag when Tiger won the 2013 Memorial Tournament for his 73rd career PGA victory, passing Jack Nicklaus’s mark at Jack Nicklaus’s own course. LaCava has seen the Tiger magic and knows what the future could hold. Tiger may have a long climb back, but he’s in good hands with Joe LaCava.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 25, 2018