Interview - Why Did You Decide to Become a Caddy?
Many of you may have read my interview with European Tour caddy Richard Logue. As a follow up to this I was given the chance to speak with Matt Middleton, who you probably wouldn't have heard of.
Matt has spent the last year trying to break into the tour as a Caddy. He travels round Europe most weeks in the hope to find work, which more often than not he does but it was very interesting to find out more about getting into this tough, competitive line of work.
Matt was also keen to express that to start with its not all a bed of roses!
Why did you decide to become a caddy?
I don’t really think I became a caddy for any particular reason; I’m a very impulsive person and one day I just decided I wanted to become a caddy on the European tour.
When did you get your first job as a caddy?
My first tournament was the 2nd stage of qualifying school, last year at Las Colinas in Spain. The tour measured the course at over 6 miles to walk. An average course is around 4-4.5 miles long!
Who have you caddied for?
I have caddied for in order of appearance; Mike Mezie, Mikael Lundberg, Steen Tinning, Mike Lorenzo Vero, Mark Tullo and Knut Borseim.
At the moment your between bags, how do you go about finding work?
There are two main ways of getting a bag. The most common is word of mouth: caddies will get texts from players asking if they are available or know anyone free for the following week. The older method is going to a tournament and going “on the spit”. This is where caddies are at tournaments and basically stand around approaching players or waiting to be approached.
Do you find it difficult caddying for different players week in week out?
No. In a way I find it quite good for seeing how different players work, their methods and what they want the caddie to do. Also not every player carries a driver 280+ yards so their game plans are different to those that can; this is quite good experience as it makes you think about something happening 30-40 yards back to an average player.
What's the hardest thing about becoming a caddy?
The cost, the time away and the travelling (and packing). When starting out you could be looking at spending about £700-800 a week all in if you’re not sharing a room with someone. As I also found in the recent three week break, going on holiday is basically the same feeling as when you’re travelling to a tournament: packing, airport, plane, hotel, sometimes just time at home is the best.
Tell us about your worst experience as a caddy so far?
My worst would have to be falling over not once but twice on the 2nd hole of the Austrian Open walking to the fairway. Also the day I chose to wear white shorts. Also missed my first cut that tournament. That was pretty bad.
What about the best?
I haven’t really had any successes as of yet, making the cut is usually my best moment or giving good advice to a player and them telling you it was good advice.
If you were to give any advice to someone looking to become a caddy what would it be?
Before starting save up lots of money. Plan what tournaments at the start of the year you want to work. Try and make a multi-city flight booking: this usually works out a lot cheaper than booking each week’s flights individually. Also if you can have a separate bank account, I find this good as it makes claiming tax and VAT easier from flights and hotel bookings as you do not have to sift through all your statements looking for when you’ve been abroad etc.
How is your travelling, without guarantee of work, funded?
The travel part is usually funded from the previous tournament or from investments from my dad; he also looks after all my travel and hotel bookings and my bank account. I’m awful with money, you could be fooled for thinking I’m a millionaire the way I spend money
If you turn up to a tour event and manage to get on a bag, do you feel you have a disadvantage due to it being short notice?
No I don’t really think about that. This will sound strange but I don’t really have time to think about that as I’m too busy working. I also think more about what experience this is offering me, is this guy working in metres or yards? What does he want in the bag? What can I take out the bag etc. I know in a way we’re not likely to win the tournament but I’m going to do my best within the confines of my job to get him to the top of the leaderboard.
Who helps you out on tour
It is hard to get started out caddying but you just have to persevere and eventually other caddies will start to warm to you. For me Chris Lilley and Rich Logue (Rafael Jacquelin & James Morrison) are both really helpful guys, I’m forever harassing them text messages full of questions about tournaments, hotels etc. Also Andy Sutton (Alex Noren) is probably the first caddie I met all those months ago at a club in Spain where he walked around the course with me explaining what kind of advice to give on the course and what to point out from the tee. He also checks up on me at tournaments to make sure I’m still behaving and working.
What do you do if you don’t get a job?
Depends where in the world I am. If I’m abroad and have return flights booked, it’s a very long and boring week for me as I’ll be spending it watching the golf. If I have the means to get home early though I will always try and get home sooner rather than later before I go to the next tournament.
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