Which new caddie will have biggest impact?

By Rex HoggardJune 14, 2011, 5:26 pm

Dustin Johnson (Joe LaCava), Adam Scott (Steve Williams) and Martin Kaymer (Christian Donald) all have notable caddies on their bags for the 111th U.S. Open. Which caddie will have the biggest impact this week among the three? Rex Hoggard and Jason Sobel weigh in.

By Rex Hoggard:

Adam Scott and Steve Williams promise to be the marquee working group at Congressional while Dustin Johnson and Joe LaCava have already shown plenty of promise, but based on pure potential the new player-caddie tandem of Martin Kaymer and Christian Donald could prove pivotal at the U.S. Open.

Whatever influence a caddie ultimately has on a tournament’s outcome, from those skeptics who consider a looper little more than a trolley with legs to those who liken the relationship to that of a pitcher and catcher, the game’s most-demanding test is decided in the margins, unforeseen details to all except a good caddie.

The skeptics should look no further than last year’s U.S. Open and the moment that got away from Johnson and then-caddie Bobby Brown. No one ever wins the “what if” game, but it’s difficult to imagine LaCava letting Johnson race through those first few holes on Sunday at Pebble Beach.

In Donald Kaymer has a proven winner and, perhaps more importantly, a caddie that’s been making the rounds for nearly a decade. Donald looped for his brother, world No. 1 Luke, from 2002 until 2009 and to two Tour titles.

The German already has one major and he’s taken a large step toward his second Grand Keepsake by adding Donald to his team.

By Jason Sobel:

If there’s one player who can most benefit from an experienced caddie, it’s Dustin Johnson.

There’s no arguing that Johnson owns as much talent as anyone in the game. His power game and distance control are each terrific, putting him on the verge of superstardom.

A superstar caddie may make the difference.

Johnson now has Fred Couples’ longtime looper Joe LaCava on the bag, a move which should help minimize his deficiencies. For example, he is currently ranked 152nd on the PGA Tour in scrambling and 65th in bogey average. With a more experienced bagman, DJ won’t become a different player, but will likely turn more bogeys into pars, a key ingredient to unlocking the secret to success.

And of course, there’s the two momentous mistakes at least partly attributed to former Johnson caddie Bobby Brown. At last year’s PGA Championship, Johnson lost a chance to enter the playoff when he grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole and at this year’s Northern Trust Open, he was docked a two-stroke penalty when he showed up late for his opening-round tee time.

That’s not to say Brown – now on the bag for Kyle Stanley – isn’t a worthy caddie, but LaCava has been there and done that, serving for years alongside one of the game’s best.

With his new teammate, expect big things for Johnson on the horizon.

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Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

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Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.

The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 am

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.