When the LPGA resumes its 2020 season, players will be allowed to go it alone.
According to a Golf Channel report, the LPGA will allow players to carry their own bags for the remainder of the 2020 season, not requiring them to have caddies. The measure is part of the tour's safety protocols upon return, designed for players who don't have regular caddies and may feel uncomfortable working with someone local on a one-off basis.
The concern among LPGA caddies is that some players who do have regular caddies will use this option to keep their caddies on the sidelines. Players have agreements directly with caddies and provide them payment on a hybrid scale -- typically base pay for the week, with bonuses based on a player's performance.
This option could be in the financial interest of struggling players, up-and-comers and Symetra Tour players, many of which are feeling the pinch of a truncated season and having no revenue stream. However, the LPGA expects most players to continue using full-time loopers.
Caddies could be concerned that they will be expected to do forecaddie duties -- like raking bunkers and cleaning golf balls -- for players without caddies. Would those caddies be compensated by caddie-less players for their help, or would the caddies be expected to perform extra work gratis?
The LPGA insisted to players and caddies alike that there are no plans to phase out caddies in the long term or minimize their relevance.
Caddies are a crucial part of player performance, and most professionals get used to having them around. While not having a caddie may save some money in the short term, it could have a negative impact on a player's energy levels, concentration and overall performance.