There is another winner at the 2022 PGA Championship. If Justin Thomas lifted the Wanamaker Trophy he owes it to his caddy Jim "Bones" Mackay as well. On Sunday 22 June this man recharged Thomas's batteries, made him recover the seven strokes behind Pereira and consigned him to the history of golf.
And Bones (member of the Caddy Hall of Fame since 2017), in addition to the percentage of the win, he also took a great personal satisfaction on Phil Mickelson with whom he had worked "only" for a quarter of a century.
Justin Thomas, caddie
Let's start with this little "revenge" Tradition has it that, after a victory, every professional leaves the flag of hole 18 to his caddy. The established habit is to be understood as a nice gesture, a memory that every assistant will keep in his personal bulletin like trophies or cups.
As mentioned, Mackay worked for Lefty for 25 years and waited in vain for a single flag on the 18th hole. No nice gesture for the first major won together. Phil held the 2004 Masters flag for his grandfather, a former caddy at Pebble Beach.
All in all there is. The fact that he held all the other 19 flags of the same number of competitions won by the award-winning company Mickelson & Mackay (including four other majors) was a little less appealing. To reveal it is one of those unauthorized autobiographies that are unlikely to end up in court.
The indiscretion comes from Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and not authorized) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar, signed by journalist Alan Shipnuck. “We are facing a gigantic setback for a caddy,” Shipnuck writes, quoting a person very close to Mackay.
“When Phil wins the Masters, he gets the Green Jacket, the trophy, the millionaire check and all the glory. Is it possible that the flag was also held? Not respecting tradition is a great lack of respect " That there was fraud in Phil's choice is also testified by another episode told in the volume.
After the breakup in 2017, Mickelson had some flags delivered to the Bones home. "Mickelson, however, had autographed them, writing characters so large as to debase their beauty and emotional value." Mackay never displayed those trophies in his house.
Which he instead will do with the flag 18 of the fourth lap of Southern Hills that Thomas has actually given him. And the 57-year-old caddy let slip a "means a lot" to those who asked him about the gesture of the 29-year-old American.
The relationship between Thomas and Mackay is quite recent but it already seems well structured. After closing with Lefty, Jim Mackay had said no more to golf on the course, preferring him a post as a commentator for NBC. Then the call from Justin Thomas in 2020 to replace his then-collaborator Jimmy Johnson, who was ill.
The two won the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational as a couple. And on the momentum they continued to cooperate. For them already seven top ten in 2022. According to Justin Thomas, Bones' work on the field in Oklahoma has been remarkable.
“I'm sure I wouldn't be here if Mackay hadn't given me a good speech. After finishing four above par we went to the driving range. He told me there was nothing to work on or improve on. The lap could have been closed in 69 or 70 but I shot 74 and it fits.
There was that on the score but there was nothing more to do " And again: “He told Me: you have to stop being so strict with yourself. You are in contention every single week we play ”. Did you understand the importance of a right word in golf?