Caddy Joe LaCava is to Freddie Couples what a mans glove is to his hand. Phil Mickelson and Jim Mackay are in their 14th year of professional bliss. When its right, as they say, its right.
Which brings to mind Chris DiMarco and his Man Friday, Pat OBryan. They are about as content as peas in a pod ' make that Gators in a pond.
Yes, the two chat often during a tournament about Gator business. Golf can wait until its time for Chris to play a shot. First things first, and the first thing is the football team. And both have very definite ideas about how the Florida program should be run.
Oh, we always disagree, DiMarco said on the eve of the 84 Lumber tournament. We are both very strong and we both think we're always right.
We will get in little arguments on the golf course. Usually it's about Gator football or stats from the night before. He's always good about letting me be the one right about the golf. But if it's something else, if it's a score or something - yeah, we'll go back and forth.
OBryan has been toting for DiMarco for six years now, which is an eternity on the PGA Tour where players split up with caddies as often as they change putters. But this is a combination that works. Players like to say there are the three ups that they expect their caddies to do ' show up, keep up and shut up. But just as often, its about personalities as well as mechanics. And DiMarco believes OBryan has them both.
A good caddie needs to know when to do all three (of the ups), said Chris.
My caddie has never missed a tee time in six years - knock on wood, he's always there, he's always ready as far as keeping up, and he knows when he should say things and when he should interject and when he shouldn't. That's what you can ask of your caddie, and we've had great success together. We've been in the top 20 every year he's caddied for me.
OBryan is very shy and doesnt particularly warm up to interviews. But thats all right with DiMarco. The man punches the clock every day and speaks when asked for his opinions by Chris. And he does it even when DiMarco doesnt particularly like what OBryan has to say.
We've had good things happen on the course, and bad things happen on the course, says DiMarco. There's plenty of times where I've been very upset with him, and that's been the biggest change for us is him asserting himself more in situations when they matter. (Hes) not afraid to tell me to switch clubs because he doesn't think it's the right club.
DiMarco, who admits that he jettisoned caddies before who were too gabby, also admits that at times he is too mouthy to OBryan. If OBryan suggests a club that turns out to wrong, DiMarco says he gives OBryan crap for the error. But, Chris says, thats why he thinks so much of OBryan as a caddy
That's the sign of a good caddy, when he's not afraid to stand up and say something, says DiMarco.
And OBryan did another job on Sunday at the Masters this year when DiMarco took Tiger Woods to a playoff before losing. He was DiMarcos psychologist, something that DiMarco needed at the time. He was finishing up the third round Sunday morning ' delayed by a Saturday thunderstorm. In the back nine of the third round Chris shot a 40. He needed to hear something to break up the bad vibes.
We walked off the morning round on Sunday and we both looked at each other and said we didn't hit a bad shot, and I shot 40, said DiMarco. I hit it right to the hole every time, and unfortunately, it just added up to 40 that side.
He said, Go home and relax and we'll come back out, and we did a really good job of erasing that and going out and playing golf.
DiMarco shot a nervy 68 in the fourth round to get into a playoff, seven shots ahead of everyone save Woods.
OBryan, though, has a story like many caddies on the tour ' he went to three different universities, Tennessee, Florida and South Florida. And he tried several jobs before he stumbled upon life as a caddy ' he was a substitute teacher, he installed carpet, even took a turn at driving a taxi. But he went out to a Nationwide Tour event in his hometown of Ft. Myers, Fla., and volunteered his services to the caddymaster, who assigned him to a player. And OBryan had found his calling.
For some caddies, the fourth up seems to be, grow up. For some, it seems to be give up when they try to get along with their bosses. But these two seem to have found the right formula.
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