As a pro golfer who is not only surviving but also enjoying the most stressful marital experiment since Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, I offer this advice to any players considering hiring their spouse as their caddie: Love and golf can mix—if you both show a little tenderness when the putts aren't dropping.
My husband, Scot, was a happy golf widower until our careers underwent drastic changes in 1995. I won the LPGA's Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and began to make decent money. The civil-engineering firm that Scot worked for started laying off employees, so he quit, and in 1996 we hit the road. There have been several husband-and-wife teams in golf. Nancy Lopez is probably the most famous player who had her spouse as a caddie. Ray Knight carried her bag in 1989, but I'm sure he considers managing the Cincinnati Reds more profitable—and less stressful. Once, when Nancy was in contention, she turned to Ray and said, "I thought you were supposed to keep me calm."
"I am," he said.
'Then why did you leave my bag back at the tee?"
Not everyone, though, can laugh during the tough times. When things got too hot for one couple—still married but no longer working together—the husband walked ahead to his wife's ball, left a few clubs, walked to the green, dropped off her putter, then cooled off at the next tee.
Last year another couple came to blows on the course. After the player missed a short putt, she threw her putter angrily toward her husband, and it hit him on the head. He retaliated by kicking her in the rear end. They're still married, and, yes, he's still caddying for her.
Scot and I have had our moments. I thought we were having a great time at the 1994 Alpine Ladies Masters in Australia until Scot decided I'd complained once too often. "That's it. I'm going in," he said, leaving me in the middle of the 11th fairway holding the bag. There was no way I could carry it, so I was reduced to begging him to come back, which he did, thankfully.
Temper tantrums aside, I think spouses make the best caddies because they care the most. During the final round of Q school in 1992, I was overcome by heat exhaustion on the 16th hole. With another caddie I would've quit, but Scot made me continue. I finished eagle-par-birdie and earned my card.
One final thought for spouse-caddie teams: Don't forget Valentine's Day.