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Tour Tales

How have we never heard this incredible Fred Couples story involving Joe LaCava and a 'missing' 7-iron?

August 15, 2022

PGA TOUR Archive

Seriously, this is an all-time PGA Tour story from Fred Couples. And after doing an extensive* (*15-second) Google search, I didn't see it written about anywhere else. Not sure how that's possible, because, again, this is an all-time story.

OK, let's tee this tale up by saying it involves Couples, caddie Joe LaCava, and a "missing" 7-iron. We put that word in quotations because as you'll learn, LaCava knew exactly where the club was. Because he left it back on the other side of the country.

Oh, and this tale took place 30 years ago. So why is it coming up now? Well, LaCava's son was on Couples' bag for last week's Boeing Classic on the PGA Tour Champions. And in a pre-tournament video shared by the tour, it happened to come up. And it's a story that Joe Jr. can certainly be proud of. Anyway, take it away, Fred:

Absolutely amazing. In case you couldn't get the video to play, essentially, Couples tossed a 7-iron he used for the last shot of a tournament to the ground in disgust and LaCava refused to pick it up. When they were practicing the following week, Couples finally noticed the missing club and asked where it was. "It's back on the 18th hole where you left it." Boom.

What a legendary looper move. Joe just left it there. Even though it was the 7-iron of his boss. Who happened to be the reigning Masters champ and World No. 1 at the time. Talk about a bold career choice.

But LaCava kept his job, and Couples claims he wound up getting a huge kick out of it. And it's that kind of take-no-crap attitude that current boss Tiger Woods probably loves as well. Although, he probably wouldn't love showing up to a tournament without his 7-iron.

Now, because we've already established we love doing Google searches, we're going to point out that Pebble Beach didn't come after the Westchester PGA Tour stop—either in January at the AT&T or in June at the U.S. Open. But we're not going to let the facts get in the way of a good great story. Also, it was 30 years ago so we'll give Freddie a pass if the details are a bit fuzzy.

The moral of the story? You should never make your caddie pick up a golf club you throw in frustration. Actually, you should just avoid throwing golf clubs altogether. But if you do throw one, you also shouldn't just assume your caddie is going to fetch it—especially if that caddie is Joe LaCava.