John Rathouz, PGA Tour Caddie and Nebraska Golf contributor, works very closely with his tour player Seamus Power of Ireland to ensure that each and every week they are fully prepared to compete on the biggest stage. We had the chance to ask John a few questions about the player/caddie relationship and take a peak into life on tour.
1. What goals does Seamus have for this year and did he talk to you about them or come up with them on his own?
John: He hasn’t shared any specific goals with me but I know what he’s trying to do. Some players work very closely with their team on goals, but in the end that process is all up to the player. I know he wants to win and thinks he can – he’s said as much. I know he wants to play in the Irish Open this year and we’re working to make that happen. Sometimes we set target scores at the beginning of the week and sometimes we talk about goals for his attitude but I’m not privy to all of the aspiratinos he has in his head – maybe I should be but like I said a lot of that is up to him. I do know that I’m there to help him maximize whatever he wants to do and give him the confidence and belief to do so.
2. What makes you and Seamus mesh? Thoughts on the game? Compatibility?
John: You definitely have to have chemistry with your player because you’re around each other for 6-8 hours a day and working toward a common goal. Seamus and I are interested in the same things, namely sports and current events, so we have plenty to talk about and joke about. I’ve become interested in Irish culture and his soccer team Liverpool and he knows more about Nebraska and Creighton sports than he probably ever cared to know! I think we have a respect and trust for what each other brings to the table and similar personalities. You have to enjoy each other’s company, but as Seamus’ caddie it’s my job to help him get the ball in the hole the best way he knows how.
3. What is one thing the average fan doesn’t realize about life on Tour?
I’d say the average fan doesn’t realize how much time the players and caddies put into preparing for each tournament. Last Sunday, after our last putt dropped in New Orleans and we finished T10, I dashed to the airport to get on a flight and was in Charlotte that night. The next morning I was up at dawn to walk the golf course and begin to get ready for the week. Today, I met Seamus at 10 am, we practiced for 2-3 hours, then played all 18. Tuesday’s typically our longest day at the course as caddies and I was whipped. If you’re not in the pro-am, Wednesday’s are lighter with just practice, but I’m not against going out to watch some shots and there’s lots of behind-the-scenes preparation that goes into the tournament rounds Thursday-Sunday. None of that includes what matters most, how you perform on rounds 1 and 2 and hopefully 3 and 4!
4. What’s the best perk of being a caddie on the PGA Tour?
There are a lot of great perks that go along with being a caddie on the PGA Tour, but I’d have to say the access to golf equipment and golf courses is up there. If you play your cards right you can get hand-me-down clubs from your pro or other pros and custom fittings for new clubs and shafts and grips from the equipment reps just like the players do – of course they’re at the head of the line so better to ask on a slow day! Amazingly, it’s all free, just like playing golf. I hardly pay for golf any more and I get access to some great courses by letting them know I’m a caddie on Tour. The other day I played the Dormie Club, a Coore-Crenshaw course in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for next to nothing! It’s easy to exchange tickets for golf, but it’s being a part of the industry that matters most and anything we can do for our fellow golf pros is worth it.