How significant is the player – caddy dynamic on tour?
I would suspect that many of you have wondered this in the past, and I was made more aware of this dynamic while watching Jordan Spieth win the Open Championship recently.
Spieth, as we all know, is an amazing talent on the golf course.
He is considered one of the best iron players on tour, and is probably the best putter as well. That’s a pretty unbeatable combination. But, he also has a tendency to be overly emotional, and this is where his caddy earns his keep.
Spieth’s caddy, Michael Greller, has learned how to handle his player through the ups and downs of tournament golf.
A caddy’s job is like a jockey on a race horse.
You’ve got to know when to push your player, when to hold back, and how to effectively communicate your message.
Caddies aren’t swing coaches, but they are mental coaches. They offer security and comfort to their player during moments of stress, and the great caddies understand exactly when to push the right buttons to get their player focused on the task at hand.
Professional golfers, both male and female, have trained themselves to hide their emotions while on the golf course.
They want to always appear calm, especially in the more anxiously ridden moments.
Often, it is all a big act. Inside of their bodies and minds, thoughts are racing back and forth causing chaos and confusion. This is where the caddy comes in.
Much more than just providing their player with proper yardage and assisting in lining up their putts, a great caddy is trained to silence the demons that live inside of all competitive golfers.
Many of you have taken golf lessons in the past. Often, your instructor will work on just a couple of subtle changes in your swing, and will also say just the right words to make you feel more confident.
By the end of your lesson you feel as though you’ve never hit the ball better. Your instructor has given you confidence through his words and actions.
This is the same effect a caddy can have on his player. It’s all about confidence, and tour players will go through as many caddies as necessary to find one who they can effectively communicate with.
Greller isn’t the reason Spieth won the Open Championship. Spieth is the player who hit the shots and made the putts when it mattered the most.
However, the reassurance that Greller provided while things were going south ultimately gave Spieth the courage to battle through the rough patches of the round.
It may not have won the tournament for Spieth, but that player – caddy dynamic is what made the possibility become a reality.