In the days when Tiger Woods was dominating the sport, you would never hear him referring to he and caddie Steve Williams as "we" like the modern tour pro does now. In Woods' mind, he was the one who hit the shots, he was the one who put in the work and reaped the rewards. It's an attitude that served him quite well, as he won 14 majors and a few other golf tournaments along the way with that mindset.
But after his final tap-in that clinched his 15th major last Sunday at the Masters, we once again saw the new, softer side of Woods in an exchange with caddie Joe LaCava. An emotional Woods could be seen telling LaCava "we did it!", something that would have been inconceivable with the Tiger of old. In LaCava's case, that "we" is something he absolutely earned from Woods, who he's stuck by through everything that's happened in their last eight years together. This victory was just as meaningful to LaCava as it was to Tiger, and the congratulations the veteran looper received from anyone and everyone in the aftermath of the win reflected that.
In an excellent, exclusive piece from The Caddie Network, LaCava dished to Garrett Johnston on a few more exchanges between he and his boss after the victory. One came in the scorer's tent, where he and Tiger didn't even have to say anything to convey what they were thinking.
“We just kind of looked at each other and soaked it all in," LaCava said. “It was still only seven minutes since he putted out and it’s hard to take it all in at that point, but we just took a deep breath. Nothing was really said. He basically said, ‘we did it,’ again. But we got to share the moment and smile at each other. It was such an achievement, a proud moment more than anything.
"Nothing needed to be said because we could read each other’s minds."
When Woods did have a chance to soak it all in hours later, he came up with a few words that he sent to LaCava in a text message. LaCava received 670 texts in total, and he was able to get around to reading them all on Sunday night. Many of them stood out, but the one from his boss may be the one he ends up cherishing the most.
“Tiger did send a message that said, ‘We did it, appreciate you hanging in there with me, I love you like a brother,’” LaCava said. “And I sent one back very similar to that. Hopefully we’ll have a nice sit-down dinner and rehash everything at the next tournament and not necessarily celebrate it, but enjoy it and reminisce a little bit.”
As cool as that message must have been to receive from Woods, LaCava got plenty more he'll want to hang on to forever. Two NHLers that formerly played for LaCava's beloved New York Rangers, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, text the caddie how happy they were for him. Chris Mara, Senior VP of Player Personnel of another one of LaCava's favorite teams, the New York Giants, was also among the famous names to congratulate him.
“His message was quick and easy, ‘Nice going big boy,’ and for me, I love that he checked in.”
Then of course, there were multiple messages from LaCava's former boss, Fred Couples, who won the 1992 Masters, his only major victory, with LaCava on the bag.
"He was texting me all week,” LaCava said. “Believe it or not he told me, ‘I’m just so excited for you,’ Sunday after the fact, ‘If not more excited than when I won in ’92.’ That’s just who he is. And he’s always loved Tiger throughout the years."
In the full article from Johnston, which you should definitely go read, LaCava talks more about his post-Masters celebration at Hooters (yes, the same Hooters John Daly parks his RV in), his Saquon Barkley shirt that he wore underneath his caddie bib and much more.