Three holes into Friday, Phil Mickelson was in a bit of a quandary.
His long-time caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay was battling a stomach issue and it wasn’t clear if he could last 18 holes. In fact, Mickelson had his younger brother Tim walking with them just in case Mackay didn’t last. Good planning.
Mackay had to call it quits after Mickelson hit his tee shot on No. 13 (his fourth of the day). So Mickelson needed a new caddie. That’s where younger brother Tim came in.
Yes, Tim Mickelson, Jon Rahm’s agent and the former Arizona State men’s head golf coach, filled in for an ailing Mackay on Friday.
This is the first time since the 1999 WGC-American Express Championship, played at Valderrama in Spain, that Mackay hasn’t been on Mickelson’s bag for a round. Mackay is expected back on Mickelson’s bag Saturday, but the brothers at least got about 15 holes in together.
How did Lefty’s day with his younger brother go? Here is what the elder Mickelson had to say about Tim as a caddie after the round (with the source of each quote in parentheses):
Phil talks Tim
On the camaraderie between he and Tim:
“On a positive side, I had a lot of fun with my brother. He’s so fun to be around and he did a great job today.” (Post-round Golf Channel interview)
On Tim throwing jokes at his older brother:
“I love that. He does give me the needle, but I think that’s so funny and it keeps me relaxed. He has a few stories on me that I wish he didn’t, it can be challenging.” (Post-round Golf Channel interview)
On Tim as a person:
“He’s one of the quality people I know.” (Post-round Golf Channel interview)
On Tim’s credentials as a caddie:
“My brother understands how to play the game at a high level and how to shoot low scores, when to go for it, when not to. As a college golf coach for many years, he also understands smart strategy, strategic play and smart plays.” (Post-round Golf Channel interview)
On why this was a good place for a replacement caddie:
“For the most part, these greens are greens I’m going to read on my own. Also the irons you really have to feel to get a sense for it. So you can’t say ‘I like an 8- or I like a 9-‘ because it can go such a different yardage. It’s based on how you feel, how hard you’re going to hit it, all of those nuances. Of all places to have it happen, this is probably the easiest to transition.” (Post-round Golf Channel interview)
On what Mackay’s knowledge means to him:
“Bones is invaluable, he’s so good at what he does.” (Post-round Golf Channel interview)
• • •
OK, now it’s the younger brother’s turn…
Tim talks Phil
On what he was told when he took Phil’s bag:
“They said Bones has done a great job today. Don’t screw it up.” (Golf Digest)
On what his future holds as Phil’s caddie (said as a joke):
“I’m pretty sure I’ve already been fired.”