Phil Mickelson drained the last of his six birdie putts Sunday to end his long and winding road to the British Open championship. He picked the ball out of the cup and raised his arms high while his longtime caddie,Jim Bones Mackay,calmly replaced the flagstick on the 18th hole at Muirfield.
And then one of the driest Opens in recent memory got all wet. Mackay and Mickelson embraced,with one sobbing into the others shoulder. Only it wasnt Mickelson crying but Mackay,who later explained while choking back more tears,You work for a guy for 21 years,its pretty cool when you see him playing the best round of golf youve ever seen him play in the last round to win the British Open.
Before they teed off,Mackay gave Mickelson a target. I said even par or one under could win this thing, said Mackay,who was referring to the cumulative score. According to Mackay,Mickelson replied,Im going to be better . It was the only time all week they werent on the same page,although both were right.
John Wood,the caddie for Hunter Mahan,also sought out Mackay. Theres a certain number of guys out here like Bones who do this job not for the money or for any other reason but to help their players become the greatest, Wood said.
Mickelson appreciates the asset he has in Mackay,and not just because he helps him pull the right clubs in the kind of tough winds they weathered Sunday. Brandt Snedeker,who finished second to Mickelson at this years Phoenix Open,recently recalled a conversation he had with Mickelson about Mackay. Phil said a great thing, Snedeker said. He said,Listen,Bones is the only guy on the golf course that wants me to play well…Hes the only guy trying to work his tail off for me.
Beside every great player there is a great caddie. Jack Nicklaus had Angelo Argea. For 13 of his major victories,Tiger Woods had Steve Williams. And since the summer of 1992,Mickelson has had Mackay,who is the only full-time caddie he has employed since turning pro. NYT