Golf 2011: The Top 10 Caddies Currently in the Game

Immer ChriswellCorrespondent IMay 11, 2011

Golf 2011: The Top 10 Caddies Currently in the Game

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11:  Caddie Steve Williams tosses his club after hitting a shot on the 17th hole for the 'Caddie Challenge' during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgra
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    You see them all the time, but who are they? 

    They are the PGA Tour caddies. From the good to the bad, they try to help their player successfully maneuver through tour events, hopefully bagging for a winner.

    The job isn't easy. The expectations: know the distances on the course, the way the ball bounces all over, how far your player's clubs go, what wind does to your player, and how to be a mental boost when push comes to shove.

    Here's a closer look at 10 names, of which most people will know five.

No. 10: Ricci Roberts

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    SUN CITY, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 02:  Ernie Els of South Africa stand with his caddie Ricci Roberts during the first round of the 2010 Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club Course  on December 2, 2010 in Sun City, South Africa.  (Photo b
    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Ernie Els' long time caddy is certainly one of the top out there. He has been there for Els through everything, but it appears that the relationship has come to an end. 

    Last year, Els split caddies between Dan Quinn and Roberts. However, Quinn most recently was on the bag for Dustin Johnson, who is currently going through a caddy experiment.

    Roberts is on here, but is just a ways down compared to the rest of these guys.

    Roberts has bagged for Darren Clarke this year, if you're wondering who he went to after.

No. 9: Billy Foster

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Lee Westwood of England waits with his caddie Billy Foster on the fifth hole during the second round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Despite the fact he caddies for the World No. 1, you have to consider exactly what has happened to Lee Westwood during his career.

    Not to reduce his accomplishments, but I remember Westwood for being the guy who has not been able to finish in a major. That putt at the '08 US Open comes to mind.

    While this may be a low ranking for Foster, should Westwood break through in a major, he is one of the top three caddies.

No. 8: John McLaren

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11:  Luke Donald of England (R) pulls a club from his bag alongside caddie John McLaren (L) during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 20
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Another caddy whose rank may be low, John McClaren is better known as the guy who replaced Luke Donald's brother on the bag.

    Donald let his brother go when his game was at a low in 2008, and picked up McLaren. 

    This year, Donald has played fantastic. He operates on a different yardage book than most tour players, but banks a nice check.

    The reason McLaren ranks higher than Foster is because of Donald's short game.

    You can't say that Donald's putting comes solely from a good stroke. It comes from a caddy who knows his greens.

No. 7: Greg Hearmon

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10:  Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his birdie on the 18th green with his caddie Greg Hearmon and winning the Masters during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in
    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Your stock goes up a lot when the player you caddy for wins the Masters.

    Hearmon and Charl Schwartzel have made a dynamic duo, and the maturity of Hearmon has just as much to do with Schwartzel's winning as Schwartzel's maturity.

No. 6: JP Fitzgerald

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    AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland pulls a club alongside his caddie JP Fitzgerald on the 12th hole during the first round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    When you caddy for a young player, it's a big bill to live up to.

    Not only is there the pressure of being a good caddy, but you're also expected to guide the player through the start of their career.

    Needless to say, Rory McIlroy is more mature than most young guns out there. But he still needs plenty of help, and needs a person to help him out through the ups and most recently, the downs.

    Fitzgerald bagged for Paul McGinley, and also spot caddied for Darren Clarke, in 2002, when Clarke won at the Murphy's Irish Open.

    High marks go to any caddy of a young gun.

No. 5: Steve Williams

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    PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11:  Tiger Woods (R) and Mark O'Meara (L) react to a shot by caddie Steve Williams (not pictured) for the 'Caddie Challenge' on the 17th hole during a practice round prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PL
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    This man will only caddy for one golfer if it's for one year more, or 15: Tiger Woods. The bond between the two is undeniable.

    The two of them are arguably one of the best tandems, and through all the swing changes, Williams has been the person who has always been there.

    The thing about Williams is, however, how much he really does. While he does do some camera breaking on the side, Tiger has always been known to consult no one on putts unless he is not sure.

    While remaining on the bag has been a great ride, Williams wouldn't still be here if he was doing something wrong.

No. 4: Jim "Bones" Mackay

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 07:  Phil Mickelson and his caddie Jim Mackay during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 7, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    He's another guy who's probably bagging for his last PGA Tour player ever. And like Steve Williams and Fluff Cowan, he's going to have one gigantic retirement fund. 

    Caddy is one of the coolest things to be if you're caddying for a winner. Salary plus percentage of earnings is the thing about all these guys cash in on.

    Boy has Bones cashed. With Phil, he's become one of the most household names for golf caddies.

    Again, however, you have to take into account what Mackay does. Sometimes, Phil tends to not look at him when he chooses his shot, because no good caddy would let Phil do what he does.

    He does help with putts and distances, but when it comes to certain situations, he just lets things go.

    A caddy can't always control their player, and Williams and Mackay share that.

No. 3: Fanny Sunnesson

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    ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 25:  Henrik Stenson of Sweden pulls a club in the first fairway as his caddie Fanny Sunnesson looks on during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bayhill Club and Lodge on March 25, 2010 in
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The only woman on the list, Fanny is no caddy to brush aside.

    Her experience includes caddying for Jaimie Gonzalez, who she persuaded to allow her to caddy. She then moved to Howard Clark in the 1980s, when Nick Faldo then famously picked her up. 

    The duo, along with David Leadbetter, would account for four majors of Faldo's career in the next nine years.

    She shortly moved to Sergio Garcia for eight tournaments, returned to Faldo, and has since been the caddy for Henrik Stenson.

    She won't be remembered for caddying for Stenson, but she is a person who was key in his win at the PLAYERS. 

No. 2: Mike "Fluff" Cowan

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    NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 02: Lee Westwood of Europe (L) shakes hands with Rickie Fowler of the USA as caddie Mike Cowan shakes hands with Martin Kaymer on the 18th green after they halved their match during the rescheduled Afternoon Foursome Matches durin
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    When he decided to help out Tiger Woods, it was a known fact that it was temporary. It was Tiger who released Cowan for somewhat unknown circumstances to all, except Tiger and maybe Fluff.

    However, the relationship wasn't meant to last. Tiger needed an experienced man on the bag to help his young, raw talent. 

    Fluff did a great job helping out Tiger, and since has helped Jim Furyk. He was on the bag for Furyk's '03 US Open victory.

    Furyk is one of the top players in the world, and it is very much thanks to Fluff. He was good before, but a man like him on the bag can only help Furyk.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Furyk is looking for a new caddy in the next five years. Fluff is almost 65, and will be setting down that lead weight of a bag the tour players use.

No. 1: Ryan McGuigan

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    CASTELLON DE LA PLANA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 24:  Matteo Manassero of Italy celebrates with his caddie, Ryan McGuigan on the 18th hole during the final round of the Castello Masters Costa Azahar at the Club de Campo del Mediterraneo on October 24, 2010 in Caste
    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    You don't know this caddy too well, but he is my pick as the best caddy in the world.

    After stints with Robert Rock and Oliver Fisher, McGuigan was reconsidering his job as a caddy, and even applied to Jordanstown to puruse a Masters in sports management.

    Then came the call from Matteo Manassero. He took the place of Manassero's coach, and has bagged for him pretty much since.

    And with McGuigan, Manassero has accumulated an impressive record for a 18-year-old kid.

    Winning at his age is not an accomplishment, it's a feat to be reckoned with. 

    Like I said with McIlroy, the job is two times the normal, and McGuigan, despite a thin reputation, wins top caddy.