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Posted at 11:59 AM ET, 09/26/2011

Tiger Woods hires Joe LaCava as his caddie


Joe LaCava has moved from working for Fred Couples (center) to Tiger Woods (right). (Harry How / GETTY IMAGES)
Tiger Woods has hired a new caddie, just in time for the Oct. 6-9 Frys.com Open.

Joe LaCava will replace Woods’s friend and interim caddie, Byron Bell. Bell stepped in after Woods fired his long-time bag-toter Steve Williams in early July.

LaCava, who has worked for Dustin Johnson for the last four years, previously worked for Fred Couples and is someone Woods says he has known “for many years.”

“This was an important decision, and I wanted to think about it carefully,” Woods wrote his decision to commit to LaCava. “Also, out of deference for the FedExCup Playoffs, I decided to wait until they were concluding to have substantive talks. We then spoke to Joe and came to an agreement.”

The hiring is not without a bit of controvery. David Winkle, Johnson’s agent at Hambric Sports Management, said the move caught him and his client off-guard. “Needless to say, Dustin and I were completely surprised, as they have enjoyed a great relationship and have been very successful together,” Winkle said via the Associated Press. “Nonetheless, we think highly of Joe, both as a caddie and a person, which is why he was hired in the first place. We wish him nothing but the best with his new employer.”

Butch Harmon, Woods’s former swing coach, had recommended that Johnson hire LaCava and was critical of how the move went down. “The thing that bothered me the most was TW not calling Dustin and asking if he could talk to Joe. That’s the way it’s done. I’m a little disappointed with the way Tiger handled it. But I’m not surprised.”

With LaCava on the bag in 1992, Couples won the Masters, which is the kind of majors magic Woods is seeking to revive.

“I'm excited to be working with Tiger,” LaCava said. “I contacted Tiger and [Woods’s agent] Mark [Steinberg] because this is a unique opportunity to be part of something very special. Tiger and I have been friends for a very long time, and I know what he can do.”

By  |  11:59 AM ET, 09/26/2011

 
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