A Today, three professional caddies including myself have gathered here, and let’s start with the issue of Junichi Oe (43), who is currently the topic of discussion.
B There have been many accusations that he spoke out of turn and abandoned his job, but I am inclined to side with Oe.
A In the end, the “caution” was given to the Oe caddie and Aoi Onishi, 28, the professional, and the case was settled.
B After Oe was fired on the course, her caddie was Shinobu Ishii, the coach of Onishi, and when they passed each other, Coach Ishii patted Oe on the shoulder gently. If Oe had a problem with that, he would never do that.
C Don’t worry about it, it’s a gesture to say, ‘Don’t worry about it. Needless to say, coaches watch players’ behavior from beginning to end. Ishii definitely knows what the problem was.
B Onishi is famous for his short temper. He must have been frustrated right after he made a mess in the pond.
A There are many short-tempered or moody people, aren’t there? Hinako Shibuno (23) is a very hard worker and cheerful, but she is moody. I hear that some days she is very kind to backstage workers like us, and other days she is very selfish.
C The same goes for Kumiko Kaneda (32), aka Kinkumi. I hear that there are days when she doesn’t talk at all.
A To begin with, golf is an individual sport. A: “Golf is an individual sport, and professional golfers make their living from prize money and sponsorship contracts. The total amount of prize money is fixed, and sponsors are not unlimited. We are always competing for a piece of the pie. You can’t continue if you’re half-hearted. Sometimes there are professionals who are not well-known at all who are very good. Most of them are weak-minded. All successful professional women golfers are a group of very strong-minded women.
B Our job is to support these strong-minded, moody people so that they can play comfortably.
A If we’re talking about the strength of temperament, Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Mone Inami (23) is probably the strongest. She has an iron mentality. She is completely unfazed by accidents and adversity.
B It’s an extraordinary mentality to be able to make putt after putt on the big stage of the Olympics.
C There are many professionals who have a harsh personality or are moody, but there are also professionals who treat us like slaves or assistants. One of the most famous is Z Pro. In front of everyone, he said to X caddie, who was much older than her, “He’s my pouch,” while laughing.
A That is a famous story. After that, X-caddie lost her mind and said, “One! He said, ‘One!'”
The queen who treats her caddie like a dog.
B Z Pro’s family is wealthy, and she’s a very young lady. She is very even-tempered and has a queenly temperament. In the past, professional golfers had the image of having rich parents, but not so much these days. The cost of playing golf has become much cheaper. As one might expect, people like Mr. Z are an endangered species.
C However, I understand the feelings of X caddies. Because our salary is paid by the pro who carries the bag.
A Yes, yes. A “Yes, that’s right. 100,000 yen per match. This includes transportation and hotel expenses. If you make it through the qualifying round, you receive prize money, which ranges from 10% to 5%, depending on your ranking. The higher the rank, the higher the percentage. If the prize money is 15 million yen, the caddie receives 1.5 million yen. This is the basic income of a caddie.
C. Therefore, you have to carry a strong pro to make a living. On the other hand, if you can get a contract with a strong pro, you will have a lot of money. We will be on TV a lot, so we will get sponsors!
B To make a living as a professional caddie, you have to be liked by the players. Even if you have something to say, you can’t say it. Before I knew it, I had become a very patient person (laughs).
C. I don’t open my wallet when the professionals are at the dinner table because it causes me a lot of stress. I make it a rule to ask them to buy me a meal.
A In that sense, Misoo (Misuzu Narita, 29) has a great reputation. No matter what our ranking is, she gave us a flat rate of 10% of the caddie fee.
C. She is in bad shape right now, but I hope she will recover soon.
Frequent incidents of equipment theft
A: Basically, foreign players also respond well to us. Among them, Anne Shin-hye (31) and Lee Bo-mee (33) are the most famous.
B That’s right. They treat us as fellow members of the team, and they are not unreasonable at all.
C Of course, there is the good character of the players, but as I mentioned earlier, golf is an individual sport. For foreign players who don’t know anything about Japan, caddies are valuable companions. When you come to Japan for the first time, you don’t know anyone, you don’t have fans, you don’t know the culture. They don’t know the culture. The transportation to the course and the place to stay are basically decided by the players themselves, so I think it is very lonely.
A They say that Lee Bo-mee is someone you can look up to. She is really a person of hard work. She never lets up in training or taking care of her body, and she is also very considerate of other people. Being considerate is proof that she can see what is going on around her. Even in games, he notices all kinds of little things, so he is very strong.
C When I hear the word ‘solid,’ what comes to mind is Momoko Ueda, 36. There was a time when I was young when I was known as a youngster, but I’m very firm. She is a person who cares about her family and is considerate of others.
B I think Ritsuko Kasasa (34) is a very decent person in general, although she was upset that there were no bath towels in the bathroom three years ago, and she spoke out against the golf course officials and held an apology press conference.
C And that incident, too. The golf course had been frequently having golf course equipment stolen from the women’s tour for some time, and the golf course got fed up and didn’t provide towels. Who would steal them? There were all kinds of rumors that it was a pro who didn’t make much money. ……”
B: The hardest part of being a professional golfer is traveling. During the season, they travel around the country with huge luggage. Pros who cannot afford it have to carry large luggage by themselves. It is logical that they want to reduce the number of towels in their luggage, even if it is just one towel, so they procure it locally.
A The other name that came up was poor caddies like us.
C Whenever there is a problem, caddies tend to be immediately demonized. The actual caddies are not only the ones who are the best at what they do, but they are also the ones who are the worst at what they do. The Oe caddie incident has made me look bad again.”
A Let’s get back on track. There is one pro who is too firm and scary, right?
B Oh, Chie Arimura (34). You say she’s incredibly tense.
C She is a true professional. She is the kind of person who can never give half-hearted advice. If you say something even a little strange, she will go right at you. His criticisms are also so sincere that I have no choice but to remain silent. He’s scary, but he’s also instructive.
A Let’s talk about young people now that we have talked about mid-career and veteran players. The popular young caddies nowadays have different “distance” from their caddies, don’t they?
B Indeed. The one who doesn’t ask his caddie for anything more than playing advice is Minami Katsu (24). I have the impression that she is always calm. She must be a person who has her own ideas firmly established.
A Asuka Kashiwabara (26), on the contrary, is very friendly. A. “Asuka Kashiwabara, 26, is a very friendly girl. I have the impression that she uses her caddie as a tranquilizer, or rather, she chooses someone she gets along well with.
C Erika Hara, 23, has been working with the same caddie for a long time. They must have a good relationship.
B The most unique young player is definitely Sakura Koiwai (24). She is a person who goes her own way. Usually when you are putting, you take off your glove, but she doesn’t. ‘I forget to take off my glove,’ she said. She says, “I forget to take off my glove, so I should just not take it off in the first place. It’s the same with her caddies; she doesn’t get attached to anything. She doesn’t care who it is.
C She is very stubborn. Once he makes up his mind, he does not change it no matter what anyone says. When I say, ‘You should do this,’ he says in a unique tone, ‘I won’t do it. If I say it again, he says in exactly the same tone, ‘I won’t do it’ (laughs). He does it naturally, so it’s not offensive at all, even to the person being told.
A Well, let’s call it a night. I have a wonderful job waiting for me, walking 10 km every day under the blazing sun with a 20 kg bag (laughs).
(Note) On June 23, during play at the Earth Mondamin Cup, Aoi Onishi and her caddie Junichi Oe got into an argument, and Oe’s caddie left the venue even though the match was in progress.
Caddies in attendance
A: A veteran caddie who actively gives advice to the young professionals.
B: A young caddie. B: A young caddie who is struggling to survive in the world of golf where the law of the jungle is the law of the jungle.
C: A veteran caddie with a hell-ear.
From the August 19 and 26, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
PHOTO： AFLO (Onishi), Jiji (Oe), Kyodo, Chikara Kashiwabara (Katsu)