“We Spent About 6 Minutes”: Inside Tiger Woods & Ex-caddie Joe LaCava’s Crazy First-Ever Dinner Story

via Imago

Tiger Woods hugs his caddie Joe LaCava after winning the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on April 14, 2019. Woods won the tournament 13-under-par. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY AUG20190414345 KEVINxDIETSCH

“Meetings start five minutes early,” a legendary football coach once said. Tom Coughlin famously sued three of his own players for not arriving early enough. Now, Tiger Woods was no Coughlin, and his caddie, Joe LaCava, didn’t lose any money for arriving ‘on time’ for a scheduled meet. But Woods did walk out on him. 

LaCava was a guest at the Hood Hargett Breakfast Club in Charlotte. The half-of-famer caddie is looping for Patrick Cantlay at the Wells Fargo Championship. In a conversation with Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer, the veteran caddie gave a glimpse of what punctuality means for Tiger Woods. Hint: it’s not the same as you and me.

For Tiger Woods, on time means ‘arriving early’ 

LaCava doesn’t clearly remember the year. But it was during the early days. LaCava started caddying for Woods in 2011. Most of their on-road dinners were at the hotel because the 48-year-old would get mobbed at other places. However, once Woods invited LaCava to a stake dinner at 5 PM.

When the veteran bagman showed up, Woods was already almost halfway through his dinner. Joe LaCava was ‘late’ by not arriving early. “He got there early, ordered a salad, steak, and baked potato, and cuts it all up and eats it in about four minutes.” LaCava’s salad was yet to reach his table. And when it did, Woods was done. He stood up and walked out. 

LaCava added with laughter, “We spent about six minutes together. From then on, I knew it was Tom Coughlin time — 5 p.m. means 10 minutes until 5.” Coughlin, the former New York Giants head coach, famously fined linebackers Carlos Emmons and Barrett Green and cornerback Terry Cousin for not being early enough for a meeting. Of course, that was the first and last time LaCava made the mistake of arriving on time for his employer. 

via Reuters

Golf – The 150th Open Championship – Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland, Britain – July 15, 2022 Tiger Woods of the U.S. hugs his caddie, Joe LaCava, after finishing his second round REUTERS/Paul Childs

David Abeles, the CEO of TaylorMade Golf, would testify to this: Woods’s punctuality. In fact, he called this his biggest lesson after working with Woods for over a year. Being punctual doesn’t mean being on time. It means being ahead of time. Sometimes even by half an hour.

How Abeles ‘got’ Woods to sign for Sun Day Red

Abeles told Golf.com, “With Tiger, he doesn’t show up on time, he shows up 10 minutes early. And at times, he shows up 30 minutes early.” So, when Woods asked for an in-person meeting for the Sun Day Red discussion, Abeles and his teams arrived an hour before the scheduled time. 

The end result of that early arrival is what Tiger Woods now sports at tournaments and talk-show appearances. Abeles and his team made a pitch with the vision, the personal ties, the brand name, and the logo of Sun Day Red. “You guys got me,” the 15-time Major champion said at the end. Abeles, though, got him when he took the right call to land on his Jupiter residence on ‘Coughlin’ time.

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