PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO | It’s rare but not terribly uncommon for a wife of a professional golfer to caddie for her husband, as evidenced by past partnerships like Nicki Stricker looping for her husband, Steve, or Justine Reed taking the bag for her husband, Patrick.
What you won’t almost certainly won’t see is a player’s wife caddying for someone else, a situation that presented itself on Thursday at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
The group of Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel went around their first nine as they normally would until the turn, when Johnson’s longtime caddie, Damon Green, could no longer handle the heat. With Johnson caddieless and only a few members of the gallery following the group, the options for a replacement seemed limited.
That’s when Kuchar’s wife, Sybi, who had been in the gallery following her husband, stepped into the role of being Johnson’s caddie.
“Sybi has caddied for me before and she is obviously friendly with Zach,” Kuchar said. “I figured she would be a good one to handle it and Zach would go easy on her. She knows the deal of keeping up and staying out of the way.”
The move seemed to benefit all parties involved as Johnson went 4 under in his last six holes and Kuchar put the finishing touches on a 7-under 64. Johnson even carded an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole, the 16th hole for the group.
“It’s funny how when you aren’t worried so much about making golf too complicated, some good things happen,” Kuchar said.
While Johnson needed a final push just to reach an even-par 71, Kuchar had a stress-free and bogey-free day on the soft, defenseless El Camaleon Golf Course. He could use some positive momentum after last season – he fell to No. 40 in the world and came in 64th in the FedEx Cup standings, his worst finish since 2009.
Kuchar’s last victory came more than four years ago at the 2014 RBC Heritage, but he could be in line to contend for his eighth PGA Tour title this week.
“I felt like I played really well last week in Vegas, but just struggled to get the ball in the hole, struggled to execute on a few occasions,” Kuchar said. “My couple of practice rounds Tuesday and Wednesday felt really good, driving the ball well, which is really critical here. If you’re not driving it well, this course is extremely hard. If you’re driving it well, you can make some birdies, which I was able to do today.”
Kuchar’s family is with him this week and will also travel with him to Australia later this month after he plays in his hometown RSM Classic in Sea Island, Ga., this week.
“This is a fun week,” Kuchar said. “This resort’s just a really special place. Bring the whole family down, the kids are down, so we have a great family week. It’s a bit of a working vacation.”
It’s been 4 1/2 years since his last win.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 8, 2018