PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – For Ernie Els, this week's Honda Classic marks the return of long-time caddie Ricci Roberts to the British Open champion's bag. It does not, though, mean that he is done with the services of Colin Byrne, another veteran looper that filled in for Roberts in recent months.
'Ricci Roberts is going to caddie for me, and they will bag share,' Els said of Roberts and Byrne. 'Colin is a great guy, I've known him for a very long time, so we'll be a partnership here and there.'
Last fall, Roberts was sidelined with a leg injury that doctors ultimately believed to be related to blood clots. As Els began his 2013 season, he enlisted the help of Byrne, who has caddied previously for several players, including Retief Goosen. For the four-time major winner, now having to choose between two veteran caddies is a good problem to have.
'I think both these guys are experienced, to say the least,' he explained to reporters after Wednesday's pro-am round. 'We had to look at how Ricci's recovery is going to be and how he's going to feel.'
As questions still linger over Roberts' long-term health and availability, Els made it clear that Byrne will still share at least some of the caddying duties during the 2013 season.
'I really didn't want to let Colin go, and if Ricci breaks down and Colin takes another bag, then I'm starting from scratch,' he noted. 'They both decided, you know, agreed to a bag share this year, and we'll see how it goes from there.'