Behind every great golfer is a great caddie. While some think a caddie merely carries clubs and follows orders, some caddies serve as makeshift coaches for golf’s biggest stars. Phil Mickelson didn’t have to go far to find his current caddie. Tim Mickelson has been his caddie since 2017 when Phil parted ways with his long-time caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay.
Filling Bones’ shoes
Before Tim carried his brother’s bag, reports SB Nation, Phil had a 25-year relationship with Mackay. His former caddie watched as Phil went from young up-and-comer in the world of golf to one of its biggest names. He gave his partner the right clubs for every situation, scouted courses, and, in many ways, served as Phil’s unofficial eyes throughout his rise.
Many caddies live in relative obscurity, but Mackay became as part of Phil’s career as anything he did on the golf course. The two had a good rapport, a penchant for bickering with one another, and a friendship that many found endearing. When they parted ways in 2017, Phil said goodbye to somebody who’d been by his side
Mackay had no hard feelings after the divorce, praising the golf legend in his statement about the issue. “After an amazing 25-year run, Phil and I have mutually decided to go our separate ways,” Mackay began his statement.
“Player-caddie relationships don’t often last that long. I will always be grateful that I was around to witness so much of Phil’s career. When Phil hired me in 1992, I had one dream; to caddie in a Ryder Cup. Last year, at Hazeltine, Phil played in his 11th straight Ryder Cup.”
Mackay finished off his statement by passing the baton on to Tim, who has been by his brother’s side ever since.
Who is Tim Mickelson?
Tim had a successful career before taking over as his brother’s caddy, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. He was the head coach for the golf programs at the University of San Diego and Arizona State for a combined 14 years before briefly becoming an agent for Jon Rahm. Tim showed promise as an agent. But when Phil called with a proposition, he put that on hold to try something new.
“We had never talked about it,” Tim said of his brother’s call. “Until the day he called, I had never envisioned myself as a caddie for him or as a caddie on the PGA Tour.”
Tim dropped his ambitions as a sports agent and immediately took over for his brother after Mackay’s departure. He’s been by his side ever since. However, given his experience with the game, Tim might just be a valuable weapon for an aging Phil.
How Tim helps Phil Mickelson
Tim offers a level of expertise that goes above and beyond that of a usual caddie as Golf.com reports. There is no right way to become a pro caddie. Still, most don’t have the type of resume Tim does without the family connection, either.
He’s raised entire generations of young golfers and knows what it takes to win. However, when it comes down to everything, blood is why Tim is on the course. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“The biggest thing is, it’s family. I thought it would be neat to be out here more and spend more time with my brother. And, indirectly, I’m going to end up spending more time with everyone else in my family.”
Phil likely doesn’t have much longer in his golfing career — at least as one of the biggest names. But as he winds down, he can do so with his brother by his side. That alone might be worth hanging on as long as possible.