As a caddie, a big part of your job is knowing what to say when your guy isn't playing well. Do you step in or do you let him marinate in his anger? Encourage him with positivity or hit him with tough love?
Much less discussed is what to do when things are going well. Like, really well. Like, six-shot-lead-with-two-holes-to-go-at-the-Players-Championship well. Longtime PGA Tour caddie Paul Tesori, who has been working with Webb Simpson for nearly a decade, found himself in that very position when Simpson held a large cushion during the long walk from the 16th green to the anxiety-inducing 17th tee at TPC Sawgrass in 2018.
Simpson had entered Sunday with a seven-shot lead and led by six with just two holes remaining, but Tesori knew that anything can happen there, and that it was vital to keep his guy from thinking too much about the shot ahead.
So, what did he do? He fought with his boss. On purpose, of course. He told the story on this week's Golf Digest Podcast (27:49).
"I had every trick in the book that I was using on Saturday on Sunday," Tesori said. "Webb and I are both big NBA fans. He's friends with Chris Paul and Steph Curry, but he loves Golden State. He really wanted to see them win back-to-back. He didn't think the Houston-Golden State series was going to go more than six games. So I started to do a little research on Chris Paul--how many times he's gotten kicked out of games, but also how many times he's gotten other players kicked out of games.
I just decided I was going to tell him that Houston was going to win in seven, and that Chris Paul was going to get so far in Steph's head that Steph was going to throw a punch and get kicked out of the game....when we got up to 17, he was still a little frazzled.
"It was a fun story to be a part of, and it definitely worked. He didn't even really know where he was by the time he had gotten up to the tee box. He was so frustrated with what I was saying and how wrong he thought I was."
Tesori told a bunch of other inside-the-ropes stories and gave fascinating insight into Simpson's comeback after the anchoring ban threw a wrench in his career. We also discussed Sungjae Im's victory, the wild Honda Classic finish and, of course, the latest Golf Twitter war. Please have a listen: