It could make all the difference in the world of golf come late Sunday afternoon.
The overpowering story line here at the U.S. Open is Woods vs. Mickelson. No. 1 vs. No. 2. The two-time U.S. Open champion vs. the guy who has won the last two majors.
And their respective guys on the bag are arguably the two best in the world at their profession.
We have a lot of fun, Mickelson said Tuesday at Winged Foot when asked about the wiry, angular looper everybody calls simply Bones. What we communicate or what I talk to him about is what shots I feel most comfortable with on certain holes.
There might be a hole like No. 15, a tough driving hole. And he might say, Look, I think you ought to hit a left-to-right shot and try to draw it. Ill say, it might be beneficial but I feel more comfortable hitting a 4-wood to the top of the crest. He tries to factor in my personal feelings on certain shots so that he can be helpful throughout the tournament and know what Im thinking and what Im feeling.
And thats not all.
Hes awesome at club selection, Lefty said of Bones. And hes awesome at green reading. So I have found over the years that he is right more often than I am on club selection and certain reads for greens.
This from a player who has never lacked for confidence on almost any of his decisions.
Mickelson and Mackay are comfortable off the course as well. So are Woods and Williams. Tiger stood up as best man at Williams wedding.
As close as Stevie and I are, Woods said Tuesday, you see us on the golf course'but away from the golf course, as close it we have become, it was a bit of tear-jerker (being best man).
Woods was also best man at the wedding of Jerry Chang, his former college teammate at Stanford and another member of his inner circle. I get emotional talking about it, Woods added. Because theyre near and dear to my heart. Its quite an honor for them to ask me to be part of something so momentous in their life and something that I will always remember and always cherish the rest of my life.
Many people know Williams as a tough guy with a mean streak. The other side of the coin is being caddie for Tiger Woods entails being part golf expert, part bodyguard.
The key is the implicit trust Woods and Mickelson have in their caddies.
Mickelson said he and Mackay laugh and giggle a lot off the course. Woods and Williams are known to work out together often and fiercely.
Their bosses make a lot of money. So the caddies have become wealthy. Both are very good players on the rare occasions they find to play the game.
So which one is better bag man?
Mackay gets higher marks from me on preparation and talking to his player during a round the way a great horse trainer gentles a horse. Williams gets better reviews for reveling in the heat of the Sunday crunch and staying between his man and any trouble that might arise on the course.
Bottom line, neither Woods nor Mickelson will be trading in their guy any time soon.
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