PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The nature of the 17th island hole completely changes on Wednesdays during The Players Championship.
There’s more laughing and good fun there than any other time the rest of the week.
It’s Caddie Day, where the players’ caddies get to take shots at the 17th in a closest-to-the-pin contest. The week's highlights sometimes unfold there in Wednesday's practice rounds.
Phil Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, is a pretty good player. Mickelson said the first time he ever saw Mackay hit a golf ball was at the 17th during the caddie contest in 1993. With Mackay, a right-hander, unable to use Mickelson’s left-handed clubs, it became an adventure.
“He pulls a 7-iron from Bob Estes’ bag, but it’s 4-degrees upright with a stiff shaft,” Mickelson said. “It’s a tough club to hit.”
Mackay hit a hook straight in the water.
Up on the green, Larry Mize began lending moral support.
'Try it again,' Mize shouted.
Mize tended the flag and began rooting on Mackay, who borrowed a 7-iron from yet another player’s bag to try again. With Mize shouting for Mackay to hit it right at him, Mackay took dead aim. He obediently hit a shot straight at Mize, who pulled the flag and ducked for cover.
“The ball flew straight in the hole and stayed there,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson instantly saw he wasn't the only member of his team with a flair for the dramatic.