The Mind Of The Caddie

/ 19th June 2017 / ,

Chris Rice ‘Ricey’, is the current caddie to Professional golfer Tyrrel Hatton. Together they’ve won the Dunhill, moved into the world’s Top 20 and are currently on the European and The PGA tour. Described as one of the most respected caddies on the tour, and a ‘calming influence’ in an article by Golf News. With 5 tour wins in 8 years on tour, Chris has caddied for winners of The BMW International Open, The Trophee Hassan II and The HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship. Chris takes time out to give us an insight into the mindset and challenges of the caddie.

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What’s the most important part of the caddie’s job?
To keep the player relaxed and also focused at the right times.

How do caddies stay sharp and stay on top of their game?
Fitness is a big thing nowadays for caddies, so that we’re not as tired as the week goes on, which helps keeps our minds from going into sleep mode.

How much influence do you have over the player during the competition on and off the course?
Well, I think on the golf course we both work as a team and try figure out the correct way of doing things. It also helps that the player has a lot of trust in us so when we’re in certain situations and he’s unsure, then we as caddies will then play a big part in coming up with the best plan for that moment. Off the golf course, I don’t really have much influence, we will try to make a plan to help him improve but I think having a personal life and relaxing is a must for the players.

Do you have a game plan in mind from the outset of a competition, or do you wait until the tournament unfolds with your competitors?
Well, we are playing against the golf course so we have a plan set out before we play, which hopefully helps us shoot the lowest score we can every day for the 4 days, and hope that it is good enough come Sunday afternoon!

What preparation routine do you have before a tournament?
I always walk the golf course before my player gets there for practice rounds, it helps me feel more confident in my decision making and knowing the golf course as well as I possibly can!

How do you manage pressure situations and keep your player focused?
I think the more you put yourself in pressure situations the more you get used to it, so it starts becoming a bit more natural to stay calm. My role is to try to keep my player as relaxed and as calm possible, talking about things which don’t involve golf. so that his mind is not on overtime, then the rest is up to him with how he deals with it.

What are the psychological factors during play that have the most impact on a player?
I think every player is different in how they react to certain situations on the golf course, but I think to deal with mistakes, forgetting about them as quickly as possible and concentrating on the next shot, is the most important.

How much are you concentrating on the scores being posted versus your player’s own game?
The player always! As we have a job to do and to try put together the lowest score we can, over the days. Thinking about what everyone is doing is irrelevant!

How much can the course affect a player, is it possible to be overwhelmed by history?
Everybody is different in how they approach golf courses. Obviously, certain courses have a massive history like Augusta National, but these guys are strong enough mentally to put that to the back of their mind come the first day of the tournament!

What’s your favourite course you’ve visited?
Valderamma is one of my favourites, but I think the Emirates course in Dubai takes some beating!

What’s your most memorable moment as a caddie?
Winning my first tournament.

If you could caddy for any Golfer in history for the day, who would it be?
Tiger Woods.

How do you think caddying for our football icons will differ to the golfing pros?
I think it will be a lot of fun, maybe a bit more relaxed but then again these guys are so competitive, so it could be the opposite haha.

What’s the most inspirational quote you’ve given a player?
Now that would be telling haha. I don’t really have one that I remember, I think I just say whatever I’m thinking at the time, in the situation we’re in that’s going to help the player.

Finally, if you weren’t a top European Tour caddy what would you be doing?
I honestly don’t know, I’ve never really had to think about it. Maybe I should come up with a backup plan.

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