Thanks for the memories: the 14 greatest Phil-Bones moments

May 26, 2017; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Phil Mickelson gets direction from his caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay before teeing off on the 9th hole during the second round of the Dean & Deluca Invitational golf tournament at Colonial Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-327610 ORIG FILE ID: 20170526_pjc_si4_894.JPG

Twenty-five years and 41 Tour wins later, one of golf’s most enduring relationships is over. As Phil Mickelson and his longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay part ways, we look back at 14 of their most memorable moments together.

PHIL, BONES. BONES, PHIL

As in a Hollywood bromance, the two meet cutely during a practice round at the 1992 Players Championship. Bones is caddying for Scott Simpson, who is playing with Gary McCord and a certain four-time All-American out of Arizona State. Phil has his father, Phil Sr., on his bag. After the round, Phil is signing autographs when he turns to Bones. “Are you interested?”  Um, you think?  “I mean, everybody was,” Bones recalls.

AN AUSPICIOUS DEBUT

Their first on-course action together takes place during the sectional qualifiers in Memphis for the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Qualify, schmalify. Phil shatters the course record with Bones at his side.

THE FIRST WIN OF MANY

Phil already has one Tour win to his name: the 1991 Telecom Open, which he captured as an amateur. His first victory with Bones, though, comes soon enough. It’s at the 1993 Buick Invitational at Riviera, where Phil closes with a 65 to win by four.

WHAT A CATCH

Mickelson swings left but he throws right. A reminder comes before the final round of the 2001 PGA Championship, where he and Bones, like father and son, play catch in the parking lot.

FROM ONE GOLF NERD TO ANOTHER

“Caddying at a molecular level,” David Feherty calls it, after microphones capture a not-atypical conversation between Bones and his man at the 2012 Northern Trust Open in L.A. Should Phil hit a normal hook? A rounded hook? A standard “Pelz”? What about the wind? The ball could come it hot, or “side-slash” toward the flagstick. On and on it goes. Their chat is catnip for golf nerds. As for the shot itself? Ho-hum. Six feet from the cup.

FAMILY FIRST, BUT PHIL A CLOSE SECOND

It’s 2008, and Mackay’s brother, Tom, is getting married in Vermont—on the Saturday of the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston. Phil tells Bones to take the week off. Yeah, right. Instead, Mackay attends the morning wedding, then charters a flight back to Boston so he can loop for Phil that afternoon.

IT IS HIS TIME? YES! (AND BONES’S TIME, TOO)

After 12 years together and many close calls, it finally happens: trailing by three on the back nine on Sunday, Mickelson puts on a closing charge that culminates with a dramatic birdie bid on 18. The putt drops. Phil and Bones embrace in celebration of Mickelson’s first major win.

THE BREAKING POINT?

In announcing their split, Mickelson emphasized that no single incident led to the decision. But you know the Internet: people speculate. One moment commentators have zeroed in on took place on the 17th tee at TPC Sawgrass during the second round of this year’s Players Championship, where Phil and Bones engaged in a testy exchange over club selection. (“I understand what I need to do,” Phil said at one point. “I need numbers right now.”) Mickelson wound up hitting a hard wedge. Bones had reportedly suggested nine-iron. The ball found the water behind the island green.

A READ HE’D LIKE TO DO OVER

If caddies could take mulligans, Bones says he would like to take another crack at reading Phil’s birdie putt on the 17th hole at Pinehurst during Sunday’s final round. Bones thinks it will roll straight. The ball breaks right. Bye-bye, birdie. Mickelson winds up losing to Payne Stewart by one.

THE SELF-INFLICTED MASSACRE AT WINGED FOOT

On the cusp of winning the U.S. Open, Phil pulls driver on the 18th tee and blasts an errant shot into the trees. A failed attempt at an aggressive recovery shot later, and Mickelson is on his way to a double bogey, his title hopes dashed. “I’m such an idiot,” Phil says afterwards. Asked about the incident later, Bones says that given a second chance, he wouldn’t advise his man any differently.

THE SHOT

Sunday at the 2010 Masters. Phil’s tee shot finds the pine straw to the right of the 13th fairway. Two-hundred seven yards from the pin. A narrow gap between the trees. Rae’s Creek awaiting a sloppy shot. Bones raises the possibility of laying up. Mickelson is having none of it. “So I back off,” Bones recalled later, “and now we’re waiting for the green to clear.” The rest is history. A six-iron rifled to four feet, and a shot that lives on in Masters lore.

THE TEND HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD

Is Phil kidding? No, he’s not. During the second round of the 2017 Masters, Mickelson asks Bones to tend the flagstick for him as he plays a 61-yard wedge shot on the 13th hole, something he also famously did on the closing hole at Torrey Pines in 2011.

MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE

Under ordinary circumstances, Mackay would no sooner miss a tee time than John Daly would miss a meal. But circumstances aren’t normal at the 2017 WGC-Mexico Championship, where a stomach virus strikes Bones before the start of play on Friday. Bones starts the round but is too ill to finish. “You can’t replace somebody like Bones,” Phil says. But in what looks in retrospect like foreshadowing, Phil’s brother, Tim, fills in for Bones on the bag.

A WEEPY END TO AN OPEN

There’s not a dry eye on the 18th green at Muirfield as Mickelson captures the Claret Jug. After an emotional embrace, player and caddie walk off the course together, arms over each other’s shoulder. Phil is obviously choked up. Bones is shown on camera, wiping away tears. You were probably dewy-eyed, too.

  • Courtesy of Josh Sens (golf.com)

Golf Channel Hires Caddies for Broadcast From Sea Island

bonesThe caddies for Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar will carry a lighter load on the PGA Tour next week – microphones instead of golf bags.

Golf Channel has hired Jim “Bones” Mackay and John Wood as part of its broadcast team for two days during the RSM Classic at Sea Island. Mackay has been Mickelson’s only caddie on the PGA Tour. Wood spent nine years with Hunter Mahan until leaving to work for Kuchar in 2016.

“What’s going to be pretty cool is hearing their point of view on what’s going on,” Tommy Roy, the golf producer for NBC Sports and Golf Channel, said Thursday. “We hear so many players refer to “we” and it’s clear it’s a team getting this done on the course. So this will be the perspective from the other half of the team.”

Mackay and Woods will be on-course reporters for key groups during Friday and Saturday rounds at Sea Island.

NBC televised the “Kiwi Challenge” in 2008 when Steve Williams, still the caddie for Tiger Woods, worked as an on-course reporter in his native New Zealand.

Roy said he has been working on this project for more than a year. He identified Mackay and Wood as prime candidates because of their communication skills and “that’s the No. 1 attribute you look for in a television announcer.”

Over the past year, Roy said he has brought the two caddies into the truck to see the operational side of a television broadcast, and he had them wear headsets to adjust to hearing Roy’s commands and how announcers are to respond.

He said Roger Maltbie would be helping them with where to stand – not next to the player, in this case – and other issues. They will have a rehearsal Thursday morning from Sea Island before going live in the second round.

“I really appreciate the chance,” Mackay said. “I think it’s going to be cool. I’m fascinated by the whole TV side of it. Tommy had us out to the truck a couple of times. We had a chance to appreciate the amazing amount of hard work and attention to detail. It’s an honor and it will be a lot of fun. I’m excited about it, but I also want to make Tommy happy to have us out there.”

The last time Mackay was a PGA Tour event without caddying was the 1993 Ryder Cup, and he wound up working as a caddie assistant.

Whether this becomes a regular part of future Golf Channel and NBC broadcast is to be determined. Roy, however, long has been fascinated by the conversation between caddies and players, which can be a compelling part of the broadcast when it involves a big decision.

Mackay and Mickelson seem to be constantly discussing shots. Wood received notoriety in 2007 at the Travelers Championship when he stepped in as Mahan was about to play his approach to the 18th and had him start over with a sharp focus. Mahan made birdie and wound up winning a playoff for his first PGA Tour victory.

“In television, you try to come up with new things to attract viewers and enhance the experience for viewers,” Roy said. “Well see where it goes from here.”

courtesy of AP NEWS