Sports | November 4, 2022 10:49 am

Caddies Reveal What Separates Looping for LIV Golf and the PGA Tour

A number of caddies, including LIV champ Dustin Johnson's brother Austin, talked to "Golfweek" about the upstart circuit

Dustin Johnson waits with caddie Austin Johnson at the LIV Golf Invitational - Miami.
Dustin Johnson takes good care of his caddie, his brother Austin.
Patrick Smith/LIV Golf via Getty

Last month, one of the many caddies who made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf told Golf Digest that looping for the new circuit had been “the best experience of my career” and said joining the new tour was “fucking great.”

While the caddies Golfweek spoke to didn’t drop any f-bombs when comparing the two golf tours, there was a good deal of praise offered by loopers who made the LIV pivot after their players defected from the PGA Tour over the summer. As is often cited when the competing tours are compared, the biggest difference is essentially one thing: guaranteed money.

For LIV Golf caddies, travel, hotels, transportation, food and other expenses are all covered by the Saudi-backed series. On the Tour, those are all out-of-pocket expenses that usually aren’t covered by the PGA payout if their player misses the cut. As a result, caddies and their players can actually lose money from competing at a given tournament and, unlike players, loopers don’t get endorsement deals or appearance fees that can help offset the losses.

According to Chris Rice, who carries the bag for Harold Varner III and spent five years on the PGA Tour, the lack of a cut leads to a better vibe on the course. “That’s why everyone’s got a smile on their face because on the PGA Tour, you’re playing for your livelihood, and if you miss the cut — it’s a bit different for the top guys because they’re always gonna make a lot of money, but for the guys that are lower down and fighting to keep their cards and pay for their family and stuff like that, I think everyone’s just a little bit more relaxed,” he told Golfweek.

That relaxed vibe likely extends into the locker rooms players and their caddies share, which Kenny Harms, the looper for LIV golfer Kevin Na, shared a sneak peek of last month.

Austin Johnson, brother and caddie for LIV champion Dustin Johnson, said caddies were treated “great” by the PGA Tour but that quality of work for caddies is “just better” with LIV Golf.

“I’m the most-spoiled caddie in the history of golf, don’t get me wrong, but like a lot of these guys, to have all the expenses paid for, to show up to work and know they’re gonna get a paycheck, it’s life-changing. It really is,” he said. “It’s like they got a group of caddies together and asked them to design a tour. I honestly don’t know what they could do to make it better, have someone carry the bag for me is about the only fucking thing I can come up with.”

Guess there was another impassioned f-bomb after all.