Being a caddie on a professional tour requires a certain personality.
Not only do pro loopers need to be competent caddies, they also need to be able to play amateur psychiatrist, motivational speaker and occasionally, crowd controller. The last part of the job description is especially true for the biggest names in the game.
For Joe LaCava, formerly the caddie for Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson, he’s seen his fair share of crowds, but nothing compares to the throngs of people who flock to his current boss, Tiger Woods.
Every shot on every hole that Woods plays could potentially be the first, last and only time certain spectators are able to catch a glimpse of the man in the flesh, and increasingly, folks like to document that rare moment on their smartphones.
While the PGA Tour initially balked at phones on the course, they’ve since acquiesced and required that phones are put on silent so that when pictures are being snapped, the faux-shutter of a cell phone picture doesn’t distract the players.
When a fan forgets to flip the switch on their phone, caddies and players can lose their patience, as was the case on Friday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Playing his third shot on the par-5 6th hole, Woods found a mound well left of the putting surface, which required some crowd control by Tour volunteers and LaCava. As Woods prepared to play a delicate flop shot down the hill, an older fan raised his phone above LaCava’s hand in hopes of getting a picture of Tiger when he hit.
— ryan hammond (@RyanAHammond) March 29, 2019
As soon as the picture snapped, LaCava’s head did too, instinctively grabbing the hat off of the embarrassed fan’s head. The fan sheepishly acknowledged the error of his ways and gave LaCava an apologetic wave as other fans in the background shook their heads.
Woods’ shot came up well short and he would go on to lose the hole to Patrick Cantlay, but he would win the match 4 & 2 to advance to the knockout portion of the tournament.