As Tiger Woods recovers from another surgery, caddie Joe LaCava is joining forces with world number four Patrick Cantlay, starting at this week’s PGA Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.
LaCava has caddied for Woods since 2011, and was on the bag when Woods won his 15th major championship at the Masters in 2019.
It wasn’t immediately clear if his decision to accept a full-time job with Cantlay was an indication that Woods won’t return in 2023, after announcing last month he had surgery to address pain in his damaged right leg.
“When I reached out to Joe, he said it was possible and it ended up working out and I’m really happy about it,” Cantlay said Wednesday at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Cantlay said he’d hear great things about LaCava from Fred Couples, but hadn’t spoken to Woods about the change.
However, Woods’s good friend Justin Thomas said he was sure LaCava wouldn’t have made the move without the superstar’s approval.
“I don’t know the details and don’t know how long it is or what’s going on, but I know that that’s something that would never ever, ever be done if Tiger would not OK that,” Thomas said this week.
“That’s not the kind of guy Joe is, not the kind of guy Tiger is and same with Patrick. There definitely was some kind of conversation that went on there.”
LaCava stuck with Woods after the February 2021 car crash that left him with severe lower leg injuries that, Woods says, will limit him to a handful of tournaments a year at best for the rest of his career.
He has caddied for Couples and for Steve Stricker on the Champions Tour this year, but told the PGA Tour website he wanted more.
“I missed it and I wanted to work more,” said LaCava, who has been on the bag for more than 30 PGA Tour victories. “(Cantlay) knows me well enough, and I know him well enough, that we know it’s hopefully-slash-probably going to work.”
LaCava said he did speak to Woods about the job.
“And he said, ‘You’re crazy not to take the job, go forward, go win some tournaments, go have a great time.'”
Cantlay, 31, is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and was player of the year in 2021 when he won the FedEx Cup.
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