News & ToursMay 6, 2015

Caddies draw the big reactions in closest-to-the-pin contest at TPC Sawgrass' 17th hole

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods' biggest reaction on Wednesday had nothing to do with one of his own shots. After hitting to 15 feet on TPC Sawgrass' 17th, he stepped aside and watched as caddie Joe LaCava took a crack at one of golf's most famous holes.

Related: Our picks to win the Players Championship

The ball flight wasn't as pretty or as straight, but Woods' caddie found the back-right portion of the island green. It drew a loud cheer from the crowd and a huge smile and high-five from his boss.

View image | gettyimages.com

There were plenty of similar scenes during the week's final practice round as caddies teed it up for the Players Caddie Challenge in honor of Bruce Edwards, Tom Watson's longtime caddie who died of ALS in 2004. Jordan Spieth's caddie, Michael Greller, was one of the caddies who even had a special-made club for the closest-to-the-pin contest:

.@JordanSpieth and @JustinThomas34's caddies are armed with custom Vokey wedges for No. 17. http://t.co/aCEnpYDVE2 pic.twitter.com/FSqGVm3ELf

— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) May 6, 2015

Get it? He later confided that he'd probably need to choke down on a 9-iron for the 134-yard shot. Unfortunately, he wound up being a splash brother.

No one did better than Michael Hartford (Pat Perez's caddie), whose shot finished 3' 7" from a center pin placement. Impressive, although still not good enough to break the record of 1' 4"(!) by Mark Wilson's caddie, Chris Jones, in 2005. Here's video of Hartford's great shot. Check out the reaction from Perez!

H sticking it to 3'7" on No. 17 @ThePLAYERSChamp in #CaddyCompetiton at #TPCSawgrass! Hope ol' Hache can hang on! pic.twitter.com/N2907hFVF2

— Pat Perez (@PatPerezGolf) May 6, 2015

The winning caddie collects the prize pot, which is made up of donations from tour players. The PGA Tour matches the pot and that money goes to the Bruce Edwards Foundation.

Of course, there were plenty of bad shots as well. One volunteer said one caddie shanked a shot way right of the island to the right of the island green. We'll keep his name out of this. . . And others owned up to their bad shots. Here's Derek Fathauer's caddie, Kip Henley:

Rinsed it left.My guys too tall, his 8 was too upright. I suky https://t.co/gn5mTxtGWb

— Kip Henley PGA loopr (@KipHenley) May 6, 2015

Don't beat yourself up, Kip. Fifty of the 92 caddies who teed it up on Wednesday suffered the same fate. And a lot more tour players will follow suit the rest of the week.

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