AUGUSTA, Ga. – U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick is playing in his first Masters and it didn’t take long for the young Englishman to have to make some adjustments.
Late last week, Fitzpatrick’s caddie, Loren Duncan, a longtime caddie on the European Tour, was approached by Augusta National Golf Club staff about his footwear.
According to sources, Duncan, who wears sandals to caddie because of a foot problem, was going to wear a pair of Crocs, a rubber-type shoe, that wouldn’t irritate his feet.
The staff told him that it wouldn’t be permissible and then he opted for his normal sandals, which also were deemed not appropriate by Augusta National.
At that point Fitzpatrick had to replace the caddie he had on his bag at the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013.
Fitzpatrick's coach Mike Walker reached out to Billy Foster, Lee Westwood’s caddie, for some help. Saturday night, Ricky Elliott, who caddies for Brooks Koepka, was on Graeme McDowell's plane with the destination of Augusta.
Now he'll be carrying Fitzpatrick's sticks.
Elliott has caddied for Ben Curtis at the Masters, so at least one of the Fitzpatrick team will know the golf course.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Fitzpatrick said about having to replace his caddie. “I’m very happy to be here and look forward to the week with an experienced caddie on the bag.”
If Fitzpatrick has a complaint, it’s that the shower ceiling is too low in the Crow’s Nest and he hits both his arms and head at times on the showerhead.
For Elliott, it’s a little easier; he’s on a couch rather than a bed because his trip was only planned at the last minute, but he knows how to caddie around Augusta.
“It will be driver or 3-wood,” Elliott said about his recommendations this week. “If you think it's right lip, double it.”