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by Denis O'Brien, PhD

Who killed hundreds of Syrian children in Ghouta, Aug21|2013? How, and why?

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Sports & Jocks

Caddy Joe LaCava and Tiger’s 15th hole debacle

Joe LaCava

While the whole world peers at Tiger Woods and questions his honesty, intelligence, and . . . intelligence – in that order – for the way he conducted himself on  yesterday's  15th hole of the 2nd round of the 2013 Masters, the real divot-dolt in this mess has not yet been identified, so let’s do that: meet Tiger's caddy, Joe LaCava.

Joe LaCava was once Fred Couples’ bag-guy before jumping to Dustin Johnson, who is T23 at 1+ going into the fourth round.  The story is that after Woods fired Stevie Williams, LaCava called Woods and said "I wanna’ be your man." So they worked a deal and then, and only then, did they tell Johnson he needed to start looking for a new caddy. So my guess is that Johnson is laughing his ass off at the mess LaCava has gotten Woods into.

Huh? you say. LaCava got Woods into this mess? What did LaCava do? Tiger dropped the ball.

The only reason there is any controversy at all is because of the position of Woods’ second shot with respect to his first shot, and the only way anyone knows where the first shot was is because of the divot mark. Woods dropped the ball about 6 feet behind the divot mark, as shown in the never-ending video shots. The question is this: why was there any divot mark at all at the time Woods dropped the ball?

This photo shows the placement of Woods' ball for the second shot, the divot hole from the first shot, and the divot, still lying on the fairway in the distance.

Why didn’t LaCava immediately retrieve the divot and repair the mark as soon as the first shot was completed? It’s not like he was rushed or had to get the bag to the next shot. Woods made the shot, watched the ball bounce off the pin and into the water, walked down to the water to check out the drop zone, and walked back to the bag. All the while LaCava stood there with his thumb up his butt instead of dutifully picking up the divot, putting it back in place, and tamping it down as, no doubt, Stevie would have done.

If LaCava had attended to the divot, Tiger would still have been able to see the place where the first shot was taken, but the camera would not, and there would be no controversy. Woods would have taken his (beautiful) second shot, taken his bogey, moved on, and nothing would have been said.

LaCava also bears some responsibility in the misapplication of the rules.  While it is ultimately the player’s responsibility to know and properly apply the insidiously complex rules, the caddy is there to assist in that aspect of the game, too. But LaCava was, apparently, as clueless as Woods.

Herein lies a big problem. Essentially what you’ve got is a bunch of jocks – and I mean the players, caddys, and PGA administrators – making up and trying to abide by an insanely complex bunch of rules, and that can only lead to these sorts of SNAFUs.

The other point -- the major point -- that is being missed in this mess is how brilliant Woods’ shots were at the 15th – both of them. The first one hit the freakin’ hole and the second one pulled up next to the hole as a tap-in. I mean, how consistent and accurate can it get? Not another player in that field – or in any field of any professional tournament ever played – could have matched that feat. Five years after driving his Escalade into the mailbox we all know that Woods isn’t the brightest bulb in the marquee, and this 15th hole incident only reinforces that point. But it also reinforces the point that he is the best golfer in the history of the game.



Copyright, Denis O'Brien, 2005-2016 ~ ~ All rights reserved.