Augusta National's caddies are as renowned as the club's azaleas and Green Jackets, yet their position in the Masters is often overlooked. TaylorMade is partnering with today's golfer to bring you 2021 major coverage. They have roles on every aspect of the game, from strategy during a round to carting bags after play.
Caddies at the Masters have been involved in some serious moments over the years. During one tournament in 1986, two caddies were killed when they were hit by a car while chasing a ball down a road outside of Augusta. A third caddy was injured but survived. The driver of the car was never found.
Since then, there have been changes made to the traffic pattern around the course to avoid any other caddies being hurt. These days, drivers are allowed only one ball per person and must keep to the right-hand side of the road. There are also signs posted all over the place to remind motorists not to run over balls that may be lying in the road.
Many people think that caddies only carry bags but this isn't true. They work together with the players' coaches to make sure everyone is doing their job correctly during a round. If anything unusual happens such as if a player has an equipment issue that needs fixing immediately, the caddy will alert the appropriate person.
The green jacket is reserved for Augusta National members and Masters champions. Jackets are retained on club grounds, and taking them off is prohibited. The winner, however, may take it home and return it to the club the next year.
Masters winners have been known to keep the jacket forever. In 1973, then-20-year-old Jack Nicklaus became the youngest Masters champion ever when he defeated Hubert Green by one stroke. Even though Nicklaus never won another major championship, he kept his green jacket through all of its redesigns over the years.
Other famous winners who kept their jackets include Sam Snead (1951), Billy Casper (1960), Bob Hope (1973), Raymond Floyd (1978), Larry Mize (1979), and Bernhard Langer (1992).
In 1995, Bruce Casterline became the first non-member to win the Masters. When he returned the following year without a jacket, it was announced that he could keep his shirt.
Since then, several other non-members have had their shots at the title but have failed. Last year's champ Angel Cabrera didn't retain his jacket after losing by four strokes, but he did get to keep his shirt.
This year's champion will be determined over the coming weeks and months.
1983 In 1982, Augusta National Golf Club issued a press announcement that forever altered a Masters Tournament tradition. Beginning with the next year's Masters, which was less than five months away in 1983, players would no longer be compelled to utilize black Augusta National club caddies. Instead, they could choose from one of several white caddies who would help them carry their bags on and off the golf course.
The decision by the club to abandon its long-standing policy of having black caddies was not an easy one to make. For nearly a century, black men had been employed as caddies at the Masters Tournament. Through all kinds of hardships (some small, some large), they had always been there for their masters, ready to pick up their bags and their lives and follow them to every corner of the world if asked.
The fact is, blacks have always made wonderful caddies. They are loyal, hardworking, and very respectful toward our members. But unlike white caddies, who are hired through local employment agencies, all black caddies at Augusta National were members of Local 130 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. If you were a good worker and played your cards right, you might even get promoted to greenskeeper or sandhog. There were only two ways out: die young or go home rich. The job didn't provide much opportunity for career advancement, so most people just stayed put and collected their checks.
Caddies earn an average of $71,023 per year at Augusta National Golf Club. The minimum age to become a caddy at Augusta National is 18 years old. Applicants must be able to work long hours in the sun while also meeting with members of the golf team to discuss their games.
There are no specific requirements to become a caddy at Augusta National Golf Club, but some clubs have additional guidelines for applicants to promote awareness of their courses and organization. Most clubs require new candidates to take an exam that covers course etiquette, policy on drugs and alcohol, first aid, and other topics related to golf safety. Passing this exam is only the beginning; caddies must then complete an application that includes questions regarding previous employment, criminal records, and other matters of interest to club officials. When hired, caddies begin training immediately after completing the application process.
Clubs may have additional rules regarding what types of equipment can be used as well as any other aspects of golf administration. These rules are usually listed on the website or provided by email to new employees. Otherwise, caddies at Augusta National Golf Club are free to do as they please during their shifts.