In the professional golf world, it’s not uncommon to see a friend or family member double as a caddie for their son, daughter or sibling. On the LPGA Tour, Brooke Henderson’s sister carries the bag, and on the Epson Tour, at least a handful of athletes lean on their loved ones for support. Gabby Lemieux’s husband, Jared, is with her week in and week out, and the same goes for Fernanda Lira and her husband Ryan Shuttleworth.
What’s less common though is seeing what Lemieux and Lira did last week at the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic. The duo switched caddies, putting Ryan on Lemieux’s bag and Jared on Lira’s. The foursome, who are good friends outside of golf, saw the opportunity to change things up and took it.
“It wasn’t like our husbands weren’t working,” laughed Gabby. “We were just wanting to see if we could change the dynamic and get someone else on the bag with a different perspective or different view on a certain part of the game.”
When you caddie for your spouse, you spend almost every waking minute together. The emotions are shared, and you’re on the rollercoaster ride that is professional golf from sun up to sun down. Both Ryan and Jared agreed that when you’re just a caddie, not a husband, it’s a little easier to focus on the game itself.
“You wear different hats out there when it’s your spouse,” said Jared. “Do they need the emotional support? Do they need a read? Now it’s broken down to being a caddie and if they need emotional support, you’re there but it’s a little different. It’s golf that’s bringing you together, not everything else.”
Ryan agrees. “You become just a caddie for the week instead of trying to balance a couple of different things at once,” he said. “When they’re playing golf, they just need a caddie. It was different just being a caddie; it was a lot harder work.”
Lira explained that having someone on the bag who isn’t around her game all the time helped to clear her mind. Her husband knows her game and can easily break down a shot for her, but Jared, on the other hand, provided a fresh perspective and a sounding board for her thoughts. Lira explained what she was going to do, helping her step up to the ball with her best foot forward.
The foursome will stay switched this week at the Circling Raven Championship, trying to ride the momentum of a good week in Oregon. Lira shot a 6-under, 66 in the second round, finishing the shortened tournament tied for ninth. Lemieux wasn’t as lucky, missing the cut by one at 2-over.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be continuous, but for this week (Jared is) going to stay on the bag,” said Lira. “We played really well (at the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic), and we’ll keep that mindset of trying to take every hole and every shot at a time.”