About three weeks ago, a story emerged that was more shocking than Paul Gydos’ 59 and far more interesting than LeBron’s decision to ditch Cleveland for the shores of Miami.
At the U.S. Women's Open, Kelli Shean, a 22-year-old amateur golfer from South Africa, is competing against the best lady golfers in the world, with her boyfriend Chandler Rackley on the bag.
Now I pride myself on being an open-minded, non-traditionalist kind of guy, but on this issue, my mind is staying decidedly closed.
I’ve been lucky enough in my golfing escapades to play in some note-worthy amateur tournaments and have, in the process, come across some highly accomplished players, none of which had their spouses on the bag.
And not because they weren’t clever enough to think of it, but because they rationally decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea for their game or for their relationship.
There’s a reason why Mrs. Nicklaus never took up the bag for Jack, or any of Tiger’s various ‘lady-friends’ took to caddying for the big man.
Could you imagine turning on ESPN and seeing Eva Longoria talking X’s and O’s with Tony Parker, or tuning into the world cup to see Irina Shayk spiffing up Cristiano Ronaldo’s boots?
It may seem like a nice fairytale love story, but the fact is the best pros in the game don’t have their ‘wags’ caddy for them because they want somebody on the bag who will inform and debate information in business-like manner.
A caddy-player relationship is no rival to a player's personal relationships, it instead is a bond closer to that of an investor to his client, or a CEO to his secretary (which, incidentally, is why don’t hear of the top CEO’s making their wives their secretaries).
More importantly though, successful players need that detachment from the competitive atmosphere in which they spend so much time.
They need that rock in their life that doesn’t care how well or poorly they played, whether they set records of greatness or finish bottom of the heap.
They need that someone who isn’t in love with the athlete, but instead desperately in love with the person.
Obviously, there are always a few exceptions to the rule (see Nick Faldo for more information), but on the whole, a surprising majority of successful people share this characteristic, even if that love isn’t shared between a husband and wife (look at Tiger Woods’ relationship with his mother).
Jose Mourinho, the head coach for soccer team Real Madrid, is perhaps on track to becoming the best of all time, and when asked how personal relationships effect his job he replied: “I call my wife before every game, then I head to the locker room and the game begins. I need to hear her voice because she is the love in my life, and everyone needs love. Love gives you strength.”
Mourinho has surrounded himself with the same highly qualified, highly professional coaching staff that he started his career with, while his beloved wife has remained proud supporter from the sidelines through all of it.
Mourinho, like the icons of golf and beyond, knows the ingredients to success, and understand where they need the love in their life to be the most.
Plus, the last thing they want to hear when they’re about to lift the trophy is how they forgot to clean the dishes.