Old looper Donaghy finally bags a winner
CADDIE’S ROLE:What a turnaround: his old boss fires him and nearly wins; his new one hits pay dirt at Portrush
I SUPPOSE if you hang around in a game long enough you will get a chance for redemption. That time came for Mick Donaghy on the Antrim coast last Sunday in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.
Mick is well into his third decade of looping. He is an old-school caddie from Glasgow who knows how to advise but didn’t always know when to keep quiet.
Any player wants a bagman beside him who is going to be assertive and decisive every step of each 18 holes of competition. But he really wants his man to speak up on the back nine on Sunday when he is under the intense pressure of trying to win a tournament.
In a game where the protagonists are surrounded by a support team who seem increasingly to avoid conflict by telling their main man what he wants to hear rather than what he really needs to hear, it is refreshing to be around someone like Mick who has always told it as it is no matter who is listening.
Mick had been working for the Australian Marcus Fraser until just before the BMW International in Cologne a few weeks back. They parted company and as is the bizarre way with this unpredictable and often perverse way of life on the travelling golf circus, no sooner had they gone their separate ways than Mick’s ex-player lost in a play-off.
Bad luck, but frequently the way the golfing gods react to player/caddie splits.
Mick found himself on the transfer list and got wind of another possible bag change through the very effective caddie shack bush telegraph.
Although the old-schoolers naturally avail of modern communications technology, they also have their ear to the fairways when it comes to vacant players. I do recall Jamie Donaldson calling a colleague of mine aside last Sunday in Sunningdale to have a quiet word with him. I now know what that conversation was about.
As much as Mick is hardened to the vicissitudes of life on tour I am sure his predecessor, James Baker, was not and it is hard not to feel sorry for him in what should have been a just reward for the five years of service he gave to Donaldson. Instead he was at home watching his ex-boss on television winning with someone else by his side.
We have all been through it as long-time loopers, but its still hard to take when it happens.
He was probably feeling much like Mick Donaghy was the previous Sunday evening in Cologne as his former boss Fraser went to the fourth play-off hole.
Every time this strange phenomenon happens on tour we huddle together and scratch our hatless scalps and try to make some professional sense of it.
There is no doubt that these relationships are based on success. Success is, of course, a relative term. Making cuts could be deemed a success for a player who has had a string of missed cuts. Winning could be deemed the only success for a player who keeps finishing top five with the ultimate victory remaining elusive.