Tiger Hires LaCava as New Caddie

Tiger Woods announced Sunday that he hired Joe LaCava to be his new caddie. LaCava, the longtime looper for Fred Couples who's been working with Dustin Johnson, will be third full-time caddie for Woods.

Woods made the announcement on his website, www.tigerwoods.com. "Mark [Tiger's agent Steinberg] and I were approached by a lot of people, including Joe, who expressed an interest in becoming my caddie," Woods said in the statement.

"This was an important decision, and I wanted to think about it carefully. Also, out of deference for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, I decided to wait until they were concluding to have substantive talks. We then spoke to Joe and came to an agreement.

"Joe is an outstanding caddie, and I have known him for many years. I've personally seen the great job he did for Freddie [Couples]. I'm anxious for us to be working together."

"I'm excited to be working with Tiger," LaCava said. "I contacted Tiger and Mark 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.

"I want to thank Dustin [Johnson] for the opportunity to work with him, and I wish him nothing but the best."

Woods called Johnson after LaCava first told Johnson personally that he would be working for Woods, who also informed Couples of the decision. In somewhat of a surprise, Couples, the captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team, selected Woods as a captain's choice for the biennial competition against an International squad. The event takes place in mid-November at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.

David Winkle, Johnson's agent at Hambric Sports Management, confirmed that LaCava was heading to the Woods' camp and that his client will need a new caddie. "Needless to say, Dustin and I were completely surprised, as they have enjoyed a great relationship and have been very successful together," Winkle said.

"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."

On Sunday, Johnson shot even-par 70 in the last round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, finishing tied for 23rd. After his round, Johnson - who entered the Tour Championship ranked second to Webb Simpson in the FedEx Cup points' standing and ended up fourth behind winner Bill Haas - went on a corporate photo shoot in Georgia before flying to Scotland for this week's Dunhill Links Championship.

According to The Associated Press, LaCava waited for Johnson outside East Lake's clubhouse to help load his clubs into a courtesy car, and their farewell in the parking lot was routine. Johnson was taking a couple of friends to Scotland to caddie for him and his brother, Austin, his amateur partner.

LaCava went to work for Johnson this summer after Couples' schedule was being pared back because of Couples' chronically bad back. Swing coach Butch Harmon recommended LaCava to Johnson, and said Sunday night he was "shocked" by the change.

"The thing that bothered me the most was T.W. not calling Dustin and asking if he could talk to Joe," said Harmon, who was once Woods' swing instructor and has been one of his outspoken critics since then. "That's the way it's done. I'm a little disappointed with the way Tiger handled it. But I'm not surprised."

Woods' previous caddie, Steve Williams, was let go this summer after 13 years with the erstwhile No. 1-ranked player in golf. Williams now works for Adam Scott. Tiger's original caddie, Mike "Fluff" Cowan, now caddies for Jim Furyk.