Tiger Woods isn’t close to making his return to professional golf, but his longtime caddie, Joe LaCava, will be back on the course this week.
LaCava will be on the bag for Patrick Cantlay at the Northern Trust in New Jersey this week. The caddie will serve as a temporary replacement for Cantlay’s typical bag man, who is out with COVID-19.
Cantlay said he ran it by Woods first to make sure the legendary golfer was OK with it.
Tiger’s caddie Joe LaCava is on the bag for Patrick Cantlay at the Northern Trust this week.
Just a fill-in gig as Cantlay’s full time looper, Matt Minister, is out with COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/4E8Xk53EaU
— Daniel Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) August 17, 2021
ESPN.com had more on the situation:
This will be LaCava’s first time caddying on the PGA Tour since he worked for Woods last December at the unofficial PNC Championship, in which the 15-time major winner competed with his son, Charlie, in a 36-hole event. Prior to that, it was at the 2020 Masters, played in November.
Woods has offered no official updates on his situation since returning home to Florida from a California hospital in late March. He posted a photo of himself at his backyard practice area in April while on crutches, and a few photos have surfaced of him without crutches in the intervening months.
Woods and Cantlay have reportedly grown closer over the past couple of years. They clearly have a good relationship and Woods was more than happy to loan his caddie to his friend.
Additionally, according to Golf Digest, TW and Patrick Cantlay have gotten closer over the years, both having memberships at Medalist.
It’s annoying when people speculate that Joe LaCava has pulled a Stevie Williams when they don’t know all the facts.
— TWLEGION (@TWlegion) August 18, 2021
While some have speculated that this could lead to another Steve Williams situation – Woods’ former caddie who went on to work with other golfers – that does not appear to be the case here.
“I would hate to see Joey LaCava get shown the door like Stevie Williams did, although the relationship dynamic between Joey and Tiger seems to be much different then it was with Stevie,” one fan added on Twitter.
The 2021 Northern Trust is set to begin on Thursday morning.
Cantlay and LaCava are set to tee off at 8:26 p.m. E.T.