Golf fans have been left questioning whether the end is near for Tiger Woods' career after he and long-time caddie Joe LaCava parted ways after nearly 12 years together. Woods recently announced he had undergone surgery on his troubled ankle and is expected to be away from the tour for months in a worrying sign for the golf icon.
The 47-year-old competed in the Masters, but Woods stunned fans when he announced he wouldn't compete all 72 holes due to the wild weather that has affected the tournament. It marked the second time in the past 12 months that Woods has been forced to withdraw from a major championship due to injury.
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Fans have naturally been speculating over when Woods would call time to his glittering career with the man himself admitting he didn't know when his last tournament would come. And in a shock move while he is recovering from surgery, Woods has parted way with long-time caddie LaCava.
Dan Rapaport reported Woods had agreed to let LaCava join Patrick Cantlay for the Wells Fargo tournament and beyond due to his inactivity. If Woods is to return after his long-injury layoff, he would be playing a limited schedule.
Woods has been with caddie LaCava since 2011. LaCava has won 12 titles with Woods, which included his famous victory at the Masters in 2019.
The pair share a great relationship and it appears the duo agreed on the move. LaCava spoke to PGATour.com and said Woods allowed him to leave so he could be more active week in and week out with another golfer.
“I missed it and I wanted to work more," LaCava told the publication after Cantlay's practice round at Wells Fargo. “He knows me well enough, and I know him well enough, that we know it's hopefully-slash-probably going to work."
Regardless of the news, fans were left absolutely stunned that the Woods-LaCava era appears to have come to an end. The golf world was also left to question whether Woods was adamant on coming back to the game and finding a new caddie in the twilight of his career.
Joe LaCava has been with Tiger Woods for 12 years.
He waited on Tiger when he was injured, turning down many other jobs out of respect and loyalty.
And Tiger has been good to him, too, gifting LaCava a Rolex after their Masters win and surprising Joe with a birthday lunch for… pic.twitter.com/UvARO4Q1ti
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) May 2, 2023
Joe LaCava has stayed with Tiger through a number of set backs through the years. Now he’s made a permanent switch to Cantlay’s bag, it feels like tournament golf is over for Tiger Woods. If this is it, thanks for the memories Tiger. It’s been emotional!
— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) May 2, 2023
Tiger Woods’ caddie leaving for Cantlay (with Tigers blessing) seems like a sad sign that the GOAT may be done
— JT (@canegrad05) May 2, 2023
Biggest takeaway from the Patrick Cantlay/Joe LaCava news is that if Tiger Woods is giving his blessing to let LaCava caddie full-time for another player, then he likely believes following this latest surgery that he won't be playing competitive golf again anytime soon.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) May 2, 2023
The end of an era?
Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis reporting that Joe LaCava is making a permanent switch to caddie for Patrick Cantlay.
Tiger Woods reportedly gave LaCava the go ahead to caddie for Cantlay “for the foreseeable future.” pic.twitter.com/P63nXEXeAe
— TJ Eckert (@TJEckertKTUL) May 2, 2023
LaCava plays down Tiger Woods speculation
While many are speculating that Woods might not return to competitive golf following his latest injury, LaCava claimed the 15-time major winner would be back. “Obviously he's not retiring," he added.
"I checked with Tiger. And he said, 'You’re crazy not to take the job, go forward, go win some tournaments, go have a great time.'"
LaCava was referring to Woods' admission at this year's Masters that the 15-time major winner wasn't sure when he would play his final tournament. "I don't know how many more I have in me," Woods said in the press conference of the Masters.
"So, just to be able to appreciate the time I have here and cherish the memories." Woods went on to claim that his outlook on the game has changed with the icon admitting he values the time spent on the golf course with his son.
“It is different. I’m not able to compete and play as many tournaments or do the things I’ve been able to do over the years, but to be able to still share this game and create new memories with my son and also pass on some of the things that I’ve learned has been fantastic," Woods added.
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