Caddie Confidential: Talking lawsuits and optical illusions

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A hot-button issue for the caddies popped up this past week with the dismissal of the lawsuit against the PGA Tour. Instead of dancing around it, this week's veteran caddie dove right in. I didn't ask if he was part of the lawsuit to keep his identity anonymous.

In the end, we also talked about this week's course and what's worse than L.A. traffic. Enjoy!

Collins: What does it mean to the caddies where the lawsuit stands? Is it a loss?
Caddie: That's a great question. What does it mean? Well, first of all, they haven't lost it. There is an appeal process that's available. So I don't know how to answer that question since it's not over yet.

Collins: For the caddies, what's the most difficult aspect of this situation?
Caddie: The most difficult part is the distraction. It's a distraction because it takes us away from what we're trying to accomplish out there, and that's work for our pros.

Collins: When the caddie lawsuit is in the headlines, does it cause uncomfortable situations on the course? Does it leave you wondering what the pro might be hearing from the tour?
Caddie: Um, yeah, you always wonder because there's always three sides to any story. The caddies' hardest part is getting their story out, the truth. The thing you actually worry about is whether the truth is getting to the pros. Or just what the tour is telling them.

Collins: If all the caddies one week collectively said, "We are not wearing the bibs," what do you think would happen?
Caddie: I think it would be an eye-opener for the pros. Don't you? I think it would be an eye-opener for the PGA Tour as well. It would be a huge statement. I think over the past two-and-a-half years, they have seen that the caddies have started to stand together more than they have in the past. ... You know how hard it is to herd cats?

Collins: You sound frustrated?
Caddie: Did you see Rex Hoggard's tweet?

Caddie: Bullet point No. 2 ... So they're saying it's in addition to the standard PGA Tour Caddie regulations that we have to wear the bib. But that's not what they argued in court. ... The caddie regulations say that we abide by the same endorsement policy as the pros, [but] the pros can wear orange shoes and we can't. So how do we abide by the same endorsement policy? ... The problem is the tour won't even talk to us about it. That's how we got to the lawsuit. They won't even talk to us about things that are contradictory in the regulations.

Collins: Is that because of past perceptions of what caddies were? How has caddying changed since you started?
Caddie: It's gotten a lot more professional. You've got guys that are [a] family man, guys that are well-educated, guys that are "conscientious." They're trying to build their brand now, the caddies. That's the reason sponsorship issues are coming up, because the marketplace realizes the value of a caddie. Does that make sense? You know the hard part for the caddies is, they don't want to be a huge distraction to their pro because at the end of the day, they want to give their pro the best chance of winning the golf tournament with as little distractions as possible.

Collins: Then let's get to work on the course. What should people know about Riviera for this week's Northern Trust Open?
Caddie: That it's in a box canyon.
Collins: And is it true about everything breaking toward No. 6?
Caddie: Yes. It's true, but it's not so much there's "pull" towards six, but that it's an optical illusion. So if it looks flat, it's an optical illusion 'cause it does break towards the sixth [hole] a little bit. You can see it when you do the charting of the greens, but to the naked eye ...

Collins: Which hole has the biggest effect of that illusion where guys will misread the most putts?
Caddie: Probably the back of 13, on the right-hand side. 'Cause if you're left of it, the back of the green looks like it's higher than the front, but it actually isn't.

Collins: Funniest thing you witnessed on this golf course?
Caddie: Jim Gray interviewing Dustin Johnson between the 13th and 14th hole during the round and asking him about why he missed his tee-off time!! And his caddie going berserk! That was pretty funny, dude. It wasn't funny for Dustin or his caddie, or Jim Gray for that matter.

Collins: So what's the biggest challenge for the caddie this week?
Caddie: Making it from the range, climbing the hill to No. 1 tee!

Collins: So climbing that hill is worse than the LA traffic?!

Caddie: If you can leave early enough for the traffic, you'll make it.