Caddy Joe LaCava and Tiger’s 15th hole debacle
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
this mess has not yet been identified, so let’s do that: meet Tiger's caddy, Joe
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
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.