GLENEAGLES, Scotland — The players have made it clear that the Solheim Cup is unlike any other event. That holds true as well for the folks who have followed them every step of the way this week at Gleneagles: their caddies.
For Kyle Morrison, on the bag for U.S. team member Marina Alex, there really isn’t any comparison to an ordinary tour event. It starts with the accommodations.
“At the Portland Classic [earlier this month], I stayed in the Roadway Inn,” Morrison said. “And this week, I’m in one of the nicest resorts in Scotland [the Gleneagles Hotel]. I heard presidents have stayed here.”
Obviously, it’s more than that. The caddies get to experience the same camaraderie that the golfers do.
“It’s such an individual thing all the time [on the LPGA Tour], it’s nice to be in a team atmosphere,” said Morrison, who’s caddieing in his second Solheim Cup. In 2017, he was on Team Europe, carrying for Anna Nordqvist. “You get to know the other caddies better, and the players.”
There are several perks for the caddies, beginning with some pretty nice swag (hats, shirts, jackets, pants, raingear, etc.). While the players were at the gala on Thursday, the caddies were at a pub where a dinner was organized for them. On the other nights, they’re eating with the players in the team room, playing pool and ping pong. Morrison says there’s “no shortage of little wagers.”
Though there’s a lot of fun for caddies during Solheim Cup week, it’s also one of the most stressful events to work.
“It’s a long week,” Morrison said. “We get in Sunday and the tournament doesn’t start until Friday. We play more practice rounds, and there’s more responsibility, for sure. It’s exhausting, but as a caddie, this is a premiere event. You want to caddie in the Solheim Cup.”
Some of the pressure is alleviated by how much the caddies collaborate. Morrison says U.S. captain Juli Inkster encourages it, sending the caddies out to get yardages together. Caddies who carry in the morning share insights with caddies who didn’t go out, and caddies within the groups communicate about yardages and wind calculations—certainly a big factor this week as the weather has been challenging.
“It’s a high-pressure situation. Basic arithmetic can get a little more challenging,” Morrison said, laughing. “Especially out here, when you’re thinking, We’ve got a downhill lie, with 30 mile-per-hour winds, into, left to right, and it’s wet. Where do we need to land it? It’s nice to get feedback from other caddies.”
There’s one particular detail about the Solheim Cup that’s unlike any tour event and makes it a better experience for caddies: There are two grounds-crew members following every group, one with a rake and one with divot mix. The caddies don’t rake a bunker or replace a divot all week.
“We were joking with them, asking them if they wanted to come to Indianapolis with us next week,” Morrison joked.