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The Sentry

An interesting caddie change pays immediate dividends for Brendon Todd

January 05, 2024
1910830066

Michael Reaves

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Caddies are mostly an anonymous bunch on the PGA Tour, although there are a handful recognized by zealous fans. Brendon Todd has one of those loopers on his bag, and according to the player, that caddie is why he’s heading into the weekend at The Sentry with a chance to win.

Todd turned in a nine-under 64 on Friday, which included a six-under 30 on the front, to grab a share of the clubhouse lead at Kapalua. Todd’s coming off a solid season—you don’t make it to Maui without one—although his name was not presumed as one of the early-week favorites. But Todd has a secret weapon with him at the Plantation course: Paul Tesori.

Tesori, you may recall, was Webb Simpson’s long-time teammate on tour. The duo were together for over 12 years, and Tesori was on the bag for all of Simpson’s seven wins, including the 2012 U.S. Open and 2018 Players Championship. Tesori was also a former player and previously worked for Vijay Singh. Last March, Simpson and Tesori split, with Simpson hoping on the bag of then-reigning Rookie of the Year Cameron Young.

However, after a runner-up finish at the WGC-Match Play and T-7 at the Masters, Young had a bit of a second-half slump to his sophomore campaign and missed out on the Ryder Cup. Still, it was surprising to learn last month that Young was going in a different direction in 2024, leaving Tesori as a free agent.

With Tesori looking for work, Todd figured it was a “great opportunity.”

“My previous caddie and I finished the year really strong, and him and Paul both learned from Vijay Singh, and so I think just that level of professionalism and preparedness serves me really well out there,” Todd said. “I'm really lucky to have Paul Tesori on my bag, he's definitely one of the best caddies out here.”

Todd said he was happy with the communication between the two over the first two rounds. Helping was Tesori’s experience. This is only Todd’s fourth career start in Maui, while Tesori said it was his 20th time out here. Todd nodded to their friendship as helping facilitate an easy assimilation process.

“If we can both be honest with each other, talk through the shots, be honest about the result, was I committed, did I make a good swing. If I did those things, then that's all we can ask for,” Todd explained.

Todd is in an interesting stage of his career. He’s been good since his rejuvenation during the 2019-20 season, although he hasn’t made it to East Lake in each of the last three years. At 38, he’s also aware this is a game that isn’t the friendliest to those in their 40s. But he also believes his game is in good form and believes he still more places to go, and Todd thinks Tesori is the one who can help him get there.

Of course, Todd did his part, too.

“I was out there hitting fairways and hitting some good wedge shots and making putts, and that always makes his job easier,” Todd said.