Joe LaCava, Tiger Woods' Loyal Caddie
Behind many a successful golfer is a reliable, loyal and trusted caddie. For Tiger Woods, Joe LaCava is that man. In early November last year Woods spoke about LaCava's loyalty during an interview. This was almost a month before the Hero World Challenge.
“I told him, ‘Hey, if you want, I can go out and get you a bag, get one of these young, upcoming guys, and you can go out and caddie for them. Hopefully you enjoy it and love it, but when I come back, I hope that I can call you up and maybe pry you away from that bag for a little bit.’
And he said, ‘No, no, I’m committed to you. I’m committed to your return and you playing golf again,’" Woods told golf coach Auriemma. "I know how much he misses being out there; I miss being out there, too."
LaCava has caddied for more than 30 years. In 1992 he was caddying for Fred Couples when Couples won the Masters. He had been caddying for Dustin Johnson when Woods hired him in September 2011.
During the Valspar Championship Woods turned to LaCava for his advice and input while at the same time relying on him throughout the tournament. They seem to flow together smoothly, always in synch.
Amid the ever-growing roar of the crowds that throng and cheer, shout, click and snap from sidelines, LaCava may simply slip away to the next tee, silently estimating the lay of the land, the speed and direction of the wind gusts.
“We’re talking a lot. Way more than normal,” Woods said. “It’s hard to get a bead on what [the wind]’s doing up there. He’s doing his best to try and figure it out, I’m doing my best to try to figure it out. And then we had to pick the club that I’m going to hit a certain trajectory and shape, and I’m backing off with it here and there and switching clubs.”
Woods' decision to play at Valspar was also influenced to some extent by LaCava's advice and encouragement. With an eye on the Masters, Woods had not originally intended to compete. After some discussion and thought he stepped up, recognising Innisbrook as preparation for Augusta.
Woods has said of LaCava, “He’s positive, upbeat, competitive. Man, he’s into it and he’s been a great friend over the years, but especially the last couple years where it’s been tough. Just an unbelievable friend and just an unreal caddie.”