Caddie Carl Jackson to say farewell in Ben Crenshaw's final Masters
This isn’t just Ben Crenshaw’s final Masters Tournament. It’s most likely the last one for caddie Carl Jackson, who has even more rounds around Augusta National Golf Club than Crenshaw.
While Crenshaw’s final Masters will be his 44th, this will be No. 54 for Jackson, an Augusta native who first caddied in the Masters at age 14 in 1961.
This will be the 39th year Crenshaw and Jackson have worked together. Their first year came in Crenshaw’s fifth appearance, in 1976, after club members John Griffith Jr. and Jack Stephens suggested they team up. They finished second that year and have been together at Augusta National every year since, with the exception of 2000 when Jackson was recovering from colon cancer surgery.
They teamed for two Masters titles (1984 and 1995). No other player-caddie combination has worked as many Masters, or know so much about Augusta National’s famous greens.
“To go through this experience with Carl, he’s such a friend and helped me so much,” Crenshaw said. “I never could have done it without Carl. He’s such a special person in my life. We met each other on the prettiest place we know.”
At age 67, Jackson is one of the oldest caddies in the Masters. Even so, he says if a top player asked him to caddie during the 2016 Masters, he might do it.
“I’d love to get back in the heat one more time,” he said.
Crenshaw said Jackson has his blessing if he wants to continue his Masters career.
But first, it’s time to close the book with Crenshaw.
“I don’t know how I’m going to block it out, I really don’t,” Jackson said of the emotion of his final Masters with Crenshaw.
Jackson grew up in the Sand Hills neighborhood near Augusta County Club, where he first caddied at age 11. He “graduated” to Augusta National at age 13, working there until 1973, when he moved to Arkansas to work with Stephens, a future Augusta National chairman.
“I’m one of the old tough guys of the Sand Hills,” Jackson said. “I’m not going to set myself up to be emotional. I say that, but those old guys (fellow Augusta National caddies) come to mind. We were poor, but we had fun. We had entertainment during the tough days. The members would help the caddies make it. They’d send a gift in the mail. To me, we were all family. We had problems like all families do, but we had our pride.”
The emotion of this week will start early for Jackson, who will be the honoree at the Mayors’ Masters Reception on Monday night in downtown Augusta. In the past, only Masters champions have been honored. The rule was changed this year.
Jackson will be presented a proclamation declaring it Carl Jackson Day in Augusta and a crystal key to the city.
Crenshaw said he will definitely be there.
If this is Jackson’s final Masters, he wants something tangible to remember it by.
“I’d love to keep the jumpsuit (the caddies wear), if it’s allowed,” Jackson said. “I’d love to have the flag from the 18th hole, but that’s for the champion’s caddie. I might find some souvenir somewhere. I’ll look for it.”