SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Going down the seventh hole at Royal Troon with Phil Mickelson and Henrik Stenson in the final round of the Open Championship, Gareth Lord lit up a cigarette. That wasn’t unusual for Stenson’s longtime caddie, especially at a tense moment.
When Lord blew out some smoke as he approached Stenson’s ball, he was amazed to hear his boss, the always droll Swede, crack, “Did you enjoy that? Good. You’ve got 2½ hours left.”
The reference was to a bet they made over dinner with a mutual friend at the 2015 Valspar Championship. The conditions: If and when Stenson finally won a major, Lord would have to quit smoking.
The moment at Troon spoke not only to the confidence Stenson had in himself, but also the health concerns he had for the 43-year-old Lord.
That mutual friend was Roger Futerman, a 46-year-old Brit who played college golf with Lord at UT-Chattanooga in the late 1980s. Lord, once a member of the England boys team with Lee Westwood, left college to play tournament golf and eventually ended up giving golf lessons in Germany before becoming a caddie. Futerman stayed in school, got his law degree and practices in Tampa.
“We were very close in college, and he had all the bad habits you’d imagine,” Futerman said of Lord after Stenson had shot 67 on Friday at Baltusrol. “Drinking. Smoking. Hated all the vegetables.”
Futerman, like Stenson, is on the opposite end of the health spectrum. The bet was Futerman’s idea, and Stenson bought in. “Henrik says, ‘Deal,’ ’’ Futerman said. “I don’t know if it was a lack of belief or if he wanted to stop smoking, but [Lord] agreed to the bet.”
On July 23, five days after Stenson beat Mickelson with a final-round 63 for his first major championship, Lord and a friend smoked a cigar and watched the sun set from his home in Monaco. Yes, Monaco. Lord moved there eight years ago. Besides his mailing address on the French Riviera, he owns four other houses and once owned a red Ferrari.
For somebody who never got a tour card, Lord has done quite well. Stenson honored Lord with 10 percent of his $10 million bonus from winning the 2013 FedEx Cup, something Billy Horschel emulated with his caddie, Micah Fugett, the next year. In 2008, Lord was named European Tour Caddie of the Year when his player, Robert Karlsson, won the Order of Merit.
Described by John Hopkins in The Times of London as “talkative, fidgety and gregarious,” Lord—or Lordy as he is known—has gained Stenson’s utmost respect. “It’s tough for anybody trying to get rid of something like that,” Stenson said of Lord’s smoking habit. “He’s going through phases. Yesterday he felt great, like he never had a cigarette. The whole day was fine. But he’s struggling now. I’m sure he’s going to be grumpy at times.”
Going without cigarette patches, fighting withdrawals, Lord was in a pretty good mood after Friday’s second round at the PGA—all things considered. “This afternoon, his exact words, ‘I would have stomped on bunnies to have a cigarette,’ ” Stenson said.
Futerman stayed in contact with Lord throughout the weekend, as Stenson pursued his second-straight major, falling short when he shot a one-over 71 in the final round to finish T-7. “He told me, ‘I’m gonna make it,’ ” Futerman said. “I’m not going to let anybody down.”
Editor's Note: This story first appeared in the Aug. 1, 2016 issue of Golf World.