It might not work for every player on Tour, but a partner-cum-caddie relationship certainly brings a different dynamic. It’s one that can breed success, but what do you think - would you let your other half caddie for you?
Here's a teaser of what Lewine Mair has to say about the partner-cum-caddie relationship in the next edition of Women & Golf, on sale Friday 15 February.
By Lewine Mair
On the day Lee Westwood won last year’s end-of-season Nedbank Challenge with his partner, Helen Storey, on the bag, someone asked Helen if she thought other wives and partners might be tempted to follow suit. Especially when Billy Foster, Westwood’s old friend-cum-caddie, had let it out of the bag that he would have made off with £100,000 from Westwood’s million-dollar win had he kept his job for one more week.
“A few might like to give it a try but there are certainly some that wouldn’t,” said Helen. “It’s just that it works for us.”
Lee explained why the relationship between himself and Foster had lost much of its oomph. Though they had won 13 times, there had been no trophies since the Maybank Malaysian Open of 2014 – a situation about which Lee was becoming ever more stressed. He knew that something had to change and it hit him straightaway that he, like many another, had probably been asking too much of his caddie.
He carried on working with Foster for a bit whilst doing rather more of the thinking for himself, only Foster was not exactly enamoured with that arrangement. Both recognised that they would do better to part company - and it was a fait accompli in the days ahead of the Nedbank. Enter Helen. A golfer of sorts, in so far as she can keep up when she plays alongside Lee in his weeks off, she happily stepped up to the plate.
Intriguingly, Patrick Reed’s wife, Justine, who carried her husband’s bag until she found herself carrying their first child, is another whose understanding of her man mattered more than her understanding of golf. This former nurse was always able to save Patrick for himself, with no better illustration than how she helped him recover from what the press labelled “a homophobic rant” at the 2016 WGCHSBC in Shanghai.
Catriona and Graeme Matthew are another husband-and-wife team whose arrangement works well when Catriona’s usual caddie is taking a break. Here, too, you can see good psychology at work…
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