AN OPEN BOOK:
PGA Tour caddie Paul Tesori has detailed information in his Augusta National yardage books that he accumulated in 10 years of caddying in the Masters Tournament, but he isn’t worried about revealing some of the secrets to other caddies and their players.
“That’s nothing for me to hide,” Tesori said.
“Before they let us walk the golf course, I might have been a little more fretting about some of the information because it took me so many years (to compile it).
“But now, they let the caddies go out (and walk the course) without the players, so most of the caddies have good information.”
Chapter 2: Caddies turn the page
These days, there’s a lot more than numbers in the yardage books used by veteran caddies in the Masters.
Caddie Paul Tesori has added eight pieces of information – only three of which involve yardages – to his copy of the book provided by Augusta National.
He charts the wind direction that day, whether it is an uphill or downhill shot, the yardage to the front of the green, the yardage to the pin, what club was hit, how the club was hit, the distance the shot flew in the air and where the shot finished.
That’s a far cry from the pre-1970s, before yardage books. Back then, Augusta National caddies memorized yardages from landmarks such as trees.
“When I caddied, I knew what the yardage from that tree on the right side of the trap on No. 1 was to where the pins would be,” said 71-year-old Augustan Jerry Beard, who caddied in 26 Masters (1956-65 and 1967-82) and helped Fuzzy Zoeller win the 1979 Masters as a Masters rookie.
The advent of yardage books did away with “landmark yardage.”
“Why would you want to use a landmark that is way over there when you can use a sprinkler head that is right here?” asked Mike Cowan, who will be caddying in his 30th consecutive Masters this year.
Jim Mackay has caddied for three-time champion Phil Mickelson in all 20 of his Masters appearances. He said he has cataloged every one of Mickelson’s shots in the Masters, but because of the advances in the golf ball and equipment, “95 percent of those numbers have become unusable.”
Mackay has kept every yardage book from the Mickelson years in the Masters, with those from the three victories stored “in a special place in my closet,” he said.
“What I have that I really like for me, as a caddie, is the pin sheets,” he said. “You can go to them and see he had 212 (yards to the pin on his second shot) on (the par-5) No. 15. It helps you remember the shots from his wins there.”
Mackay doesn’t have a yardage book for each year Mickelson played in the Masters.
“Some of it would come down to superstition,” Mackay said. “If he’d won the previous year, I would certainly use it again.”