Andy Lano, longtime PGA TOUR caddie, joins Shon and Jim to talk about the player-caddie relationship, Tiger’s influence on the game, and the evolution of caddie life on Tour. Lano has caddied for some of the biggest names in golf including Kenny Perry, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, and Michelle Wie.
Announcer: The Golf Show on 710 ESPN Seattle. Shon Crewe (00:05): He was a PGA Tour caddie for 25 years, which included 42 Majors and nine wins, and was on the bag of some of the biggest names in golf, including Kenny Perry, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, and Michelle Wie. He’s the president of the Lano Family Foundation, which invests in the future of student-athletes, and has recently started a new golf company called Golf Mastery, helping people with the mental aspects of their game. Andy Lano joins us now on The Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe. Andy, thanks so much for taking the time today. Andy Lano (00:31): Hey, thank you, Jim and Shon. It’s always a treat to have the opportunity to be on your show. Just moving here to the great northwest, I’m learning about the area, but I’m really enjoying it, and again, it’s great to be on. Shon Crewe (00:46): Well, speaking of which, you were born and raised on the East Coast, and I know you’ve spent more than 20 years living in Dallas, Texas. What brought you to the beautiful Pacific Northwest? Andy Lano (00:54): Family. My wife’s family is here. We have seven nieces and nephews, my mother and father-in-law, and you know, we were in Dallas, and it just seemed like every event, we were having to hop in planes to go to family events and attend, you know, holidays, etc. So we just decided that we would wing it up here and get closer to the family, and it’s been great. Shon Crewe (01:24): You were on Kenny Perry’s bag for ten years and were initially teammates on the golf team at Western Kentucky. How did you end up caddying for him? Andy Lano (01:32): Well, let’s see, it was interesting how it ended up, we ended up meeting. As just said, we were on the golf team. Kenny was two years ahead in school, so he kind of graduated and was gone off to chase his dreams of being a professional and play on the PGA Tour. In the meantime, I hung back. I got my degree. Our golf team, I must say, was outstanding. Kenny was obviously, you know, the one that probably went the farthest, but we had an extremely competitive, very good team. And it got to the point, for me, where I had aspirations to play the game, but I always promised myself that if I couldn’t become a plus 3 handicap, then I’d never do it. I just couldn’t see doing it, knowing what I knew about the numbers and golf. And there’s a lot of scratch handicappers but it’s a tough, tough sport to play money for. So the long of short of it was when I conceded that idea, I decided hey, let’s try the next best thing. Let’s go caddie for these guys. Let’s travel the world. Let’s see what it’s like out there. And that’s how it all started. You know, 1987 at the Phoenix Open. I packed up my bags, left Portland, Maine, went out there, had a job lined up, and it started from there, and I only intended to do it for a couple of years, and that turned into 25. Jim Moore (03:01): How low did you get with your handicap? Andy Lano (03:04): Two. Jim Moore (03:05): Close. Andy Lano (03:05): Two was the best I could get to, so I couldn’t get it to a zero. I tried hard, but I just couldn’t get there. I didn’t shoot under par enough. Jim Moore (03:14): That’s still really good, though, Andy. And when you started out 25 years in 1977 or whenever it was, what was the perception you had, and then looking back, did it fit the bill? Andy Lano (03:28): Well, honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I created a relationship with a friend of mine, well, as he turned out, a friend of mine that was trying to make the Tour. He actually came up to our area playing satellite events, etc., trying to get on the Tour. So he helped me with what it might look like. I mean, I have caddied along the way for my dad at country clubs to make money at a younger age, etc. So I mean, I knew a little bit about it and being a decent player, I was confident I could blend in and help and know what’s going on. It was more about learning what was required every week, getting yardages, mapping the course, being on time, you know, how to learn your player, and you gotta be so many things; you’re a psychologist, you’re a yardologist, I call it, you know, you’re a strategist. You’re called upon to do a lot of things. So I just kind of leaned on my own competitive golfing experience that I had and tried to use that with the pros. Shon Crewe (04:35): Well, knowing what you know now, what do you think the difference is between a good caddie and a great caddie? Andy Lano (04:40): Well, to me, I mean for sure, the great caddie, and there’s several of them out there, you know, they don’t really know the difference between your guy being 7 under or seven over. It’s really important to maintain a level thinking attitude, kind of emotions, easier said than done, but the ones out there that do the best are the ones that have that ability and are not afraid to make decisions under pressure. That’s the biggest challenge that every PGA Tour caddie has because there’s going come a time when your pro’s going to look at you, and you’re going to have to make a decision, And it may be right, and it may be wrong but that’s part of your relationship is to build that and to work as a team. And all the great partnerships that are out there, that’s generally what they have going on with them. Their pro trusts them with the information that they get. And like I’ve always said, I’ve never seen a caddie hit a shot in 65 years of the PGA Tour, and they never will, except you know, closest to the pin at TPC that week. But what I’m saying is the pro needs that reaffirmed go sometimes. Some of them do, some of them don’t, but when they ask, you need to be there for them, and you need to be ready to respond and be in their corner through the good and the bad. Jim Moore (06:08): Andy, what do you think when guys like Jordan Spieth bark at their caddies? Andy Lano (06:15): Well you know, I tell people, I’ve caddied for 60 plus people in my 25 years, and every single player is different, and each player vents a different way, each player wants information a different way, each players want you to read putts, some don’t, some carry a yardage book. I mean with that, it’s kind of part of who Jordan is. I don’t Mike as well ‘cause I kind of stepped off the full-time circuit when he was kind of hoping on, and he’s a fantastic guy and a fantastic caddie, and it’s kind of part of what he has to deal with, or anybody would, working for Jordan Spieth. But I mean Jordan is one of my favorites. I mean the things that he does for kids and the attention that he pays along the way at tournament weeks, am I a fan of him? You know, he’s verbal, and he probably could drive you crazy maybe a little bit, but I mean it’s kind of part of it, and you can’t take anything personal out there. I never did, or I never wanted to, and I was lucky and fortunate enough to work for guys. They vent out there, and you’re a sounding board. That’s kind of part of the job. And when you’re getting paid a ton of money, it goes under the microscope, kinda like with Jordan. I mean there’s guys that are doing stuff that Jordan’s doing that we don’t even hear about. Shon Crewe (07:40): Andy Lano, former PGA Tour caddie and founder of Golf Mastery, with us on The Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe. Well, you were by Kenny’s side through a number of wins, including his first win at the Memorial back in 1991. What was that moment like? Andy Lano (07:55): Well, that was incredible and ironic at the same time because it was his fifth year on Tour and it was my fifth year caddying, and we’d never really got together as a team ‘cause I kinda was working for somebody else, and I was kinda cutting my teeth as a pro Tour caddie, and he was cutting his teeth as a pro, you know, with a family at home and trying to keep his card every year. And remarkably, I mean Kenny Perry kept his card for 23, maybe 24 straight years, without ever going back to Tour school. But getting back to that, I mean he had a moment in ’91 where, you know, he came off the West Coast, and he made a change, and I was free, and we hooked up and, you know, we knew each other from college, which obviously helps. And I was, you know, better at my craft by the time I was with Kenny, and Kenny was getting better at his craft. So together, it was kind of cool that we became a partnership to really kind of shock the world at a place where no one really expected Kenny Perry to win. You know, he won Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament, which was, at that time, one of the most prestigious Invitationals you could, you know, have a spot in. And he went out there, and he broke the course record on Friday, and he ended up, you know, beating Hale Irwin in an extra hole for his first win. And that kind of stuff is, you know, it’s hard to even imagine when you start together. Jim Moore (09:31): Hey, I’m just trying to remember, were you with Kenny Perry when he won down there in Fort Worth when Annika Sörenstam played in the tournament? Andy Lano (09:40): So Kenny Perry won there twice, and that time, I was not there. I was there the second time, in 2005. So we had our splits along the way of his time. Like I said, he played from ’87, I believe, up until 2010. I mean, he still has membership out there, but you know, we parted ways after about 14 years or so, give or take here or there’s or whatever. But no, to answer your question, I was not there for that. I caddied that week, but not for Kenny Perry. Jim Moore (10:12): Okay, but you did caddie for Michelle Wie when she was 16 years old, and I’m just curious of your thoughts about her, Andy, and I mean she broke down after the KPMG Tournament and she shot an 84, and she’s out for the rest of the season with a wrist injury. Do you think that too much was expected too soon of her? Andy Lano (10:33): You know, I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks with Michelle in the Wie camp. They hired me specifically to caddie for her because she was, at the time, as you can probably remember, she was playing against the boys. And they needed a veteran, crafted person that knew the men’s Tour. And so it was unique and very cool to caddie for her. She was fantastic. I mean, she was so talented, and she amazed me with her fearless attitude and her approach and practice. And I could see that she was really, really special. I don’t know if it was the best decision to try to take the boys on at that point, looking back. Easy to look back, obviously. But her talent was amazing. When she was blasting the ball out there, 275, as a 16-year-old and playing with boys, and it didn’t phase her one bit. I mean, I was amazed, and I was thrilled to try to help her out and use some of my knowledge and wisdom to try to help her beat the boys, and she did beat a few of the boys. We played over there at the Omega Masters over there on the European Tour, and then we played the 84 Lumber up there in Pittsburgh area. So she was a treat to work for, and I could see how special she was. And she did get her major later on, and I do feel for her though with her injuries, ‘cause her talent is absolutely out of this world. I mean, it’s a shame that she hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to ride that talent run out. Shon Crewe (12:19): Well speaking of players that have had injuries they’ve been dealing with, you know, you’ve talked about your appreciation for Tiger Woods and what he’s done for the game. It really sounds like though all players, even caddies, have benefited from Tiger’s influence over the years. Andy Lano (12:34): You know, and that’s funny you say that because, you know, I was fortunate enough to win, you know, five times with Kenny Perry, individually, you know, a couple of President Cups, you know, Shark Shootout, and then I won, you know, with Chez Reavie as a rookie, who just recently won his second tournament. And every time my pro won a tournament, I used to go up to Tiger, whether it was the next week or the couple of weeks, whenever I did see him when we were at a tournament, and I used to go up and thank him. And he’d look at he and he’d go, you know, “What are you thanking me for?” I’d go, “Tiger, my guy made a million bucks, I got ten percent of that, and I can promise you, if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have had that great week.” And so he’d kind of look at you with a wry smile, and he’d walk away, and he was very humble about all that. But yeah, golf’s tough. It’s a tough sport to maintain over the years. Your body, as you know, it’s not created to really make that kind of a move. And you know, obviously, Tiger’s having some, or has had issues, you know, he’s gotten them mended. Obviously, cool weather’s not going to be in his favor at this point, but still, amazing to do what he’s done and, you know, hopefully, he can you know, shake it off and continue to play because he’s the one that raises the meter and brings people to the table that would never come to the table to play golf. Shon Crewe (13:55): We’re talking with Andy Lano, a long-time PGA Tour caddie and founder of Golf Mastery, which helps players with the mental aspect of the game. Andy, I’m curious, you know, how much has caddie life changed over the years? I mean, it sounds like the pay is better overall, but are there any other ways or things that have evolved or changed for the better for caddies? Andy Lano (14:16): For sure. I mean, when I first started, which was a long time ago in ’87, I mean, you know, first of all, like you just mentioned, the pay. So the purses were only 500,000 total. So you know, the winning pro would get 90 grand and that means, you know, just doing the easy numbers here, ten percent, 9,000, right? So caddie was more of a fun kind of a hobby kind of thing back when I started. And then it really took a big jump when Tiger came to the scene. And now all of a sudden, you know, at first, you know, we had okay parking but nothing special. And, you know, we had places to eat, you know, where we had a caddie truck out there that used to drive around the Tour that we used to be able to eat at. And now, you know, fast-forward all these years, now, the caddies are parking right up there by where the pros are. They’re getting their own lockers. We have a place to shower after places, you know, after Sunday, if you gotta go catch a flight. We’re getting fed, you know, the same way the pros are, the same food. I mean, I was at the Wells Fargo, and they’ve always been great for the caddies, but you know, the food was the exact same… I mean, it was outstanding stuff. And basically, it’s become, as you mentioned, Shon, it’s big-time business, and the caddies are really getting recognized now more, not only by their players but by the media and the fans. The fans are interested. We have The Caddie Network going now that just launched last year, and you know, there’s a big interest now, where it wasn’t that way when I started. So things are much better. The PGA Tour has grasped, you know, the caddies, because we are independent contractors and there’s always been a little bit of a tiff there because we don’t have retirement, and we don’t have health insurance. As independent contractors, we have to, you know, pay for that stuff. But the Tour stepped up, and they’re helping now with the insurance, which is awesome. And you know, as far as retirement goes, we’re still on our own there, being at 1099, but yeah, it’s been a huge, huge jump from what it was when I started. Jim Moore (16:28): I’m guessing that you helped out your players a million different ways over the 25 years, but Andy, I want to ask you about what your biggest screw up was as a caddie. Andy Lano (16:39): My biggest screw-up? Okay, well, I would have to say, for one of the players, and I didn’t do this very much. I mean I had a pretty good record, but I did mess up a yardage, and I was off by 12 yards. I think I added instead of subtracted. I had the right sprinkler. Because, you know, doing that for 25 years, we’re humans, we’re going to make mistakes. I never really wanted to lean on that. I mean, when I caddied for Kenny, he never even carried a yardage book. So again, very different pros. Some carried it. Some didn’t. But for me, the worst screw up would’ve been probably that, a number on a hole and a guy hitting a shot and posing and over a green. That’s not your greatest moment as a caddie. I’ll be honest with you. I mean, we’ve all been there, done that or whatever. I mean some don’t want to admit it, but it happens. But outside of that, I mean I managed not to get hit, which was good because that used to be two shots, and a few of the caddies we know have gotten hit by their pros with a ball. I managed not to have my pro hit a wrong ball, which is two shots and still remains two shots. So those kind of things I kept away from because I mean again, they’re mistakes, they’re honest mistakes, but you take a lot of razzing from the cads if you have that happen to you. But hey, you know, it’s just part of it. Everybody’s trying to do their best and, you know, obviously, there’s not a bigger fan of the pro than the caddie. Shon Crewe (18:09): Well, you have a new business called Golf Mastery, which focuses on the mental aspects of golf. I would think that if there’s anyone that would be an expert on the mental part of the game, it would be a Tour caddie. The mental part of the game feels like there are so many layers, though. What types of things do you help golfers with? Andy Lano (18:24): The best example that I can give that I like to use is, I mean, look at golf as like an 18-page book. And so you’ve got 18 pages to play and once you play that, for instance, the first hole’s the first page, and regardless of whether you make a three or a seven, turn the page. Now is that easier said than done? I mean yes, yes, it probably is, but I can say that one of the tournaments that I caddied for Kenny Perry, he started the tournament with a double bogey. You know, on the PGA Tour, you got, you know, 72 holes and he started with a double bogey, and he ended up winning the golf tournament. So my lesson and my short measure there is to everybody out there is to, regardless of what you make, turn the page, you know, leave it behind you, play in the present. All the kind of cliché stuff you’ve heard, this is what these guys actually do, the successful guys that you see. Some do it in a different way, better than others, but that’s one thing. The second thing is, you know, as a pro, you know, you gotta accept responsibility for results, good or bad. And you know, the caddies don’t hit shots, but they have influence. Jim Moore (19:36): Andy, if I were to go to GolfMastery.net and wanna get a lesson from you or help with the mental side of the game, what are the types of things I would maybe learn from you? Andy Lano (19:49): Well, there’s a few things on there. Well, there’s about five actually. You can get a personal caddie experience. In other words, if say you had a junior, or it doesn’t really matter who it is, but you know, I’ll come to your club, I’ll put the bib on, I’ll give you the full Tour caddie experience, sit down, have lunch with you after, and say hey, you know, you really want to take it to the next level, this is what I see. You know, doing that on a home course for someone, just to give them a feel for what it’s like, you know, with the yardage and reading putts and that kind of thing. There’s also my Golf Mastery Club, which is an annual, one-time, and I’m actually running a special now on that that’s only $49 for a year. You have access to me by email and/or phone for maybe situations or strategies you may have for your children or your college kids or whoever it is, any level, and that’s $49 for 17 and under, and it’s like $69 for 18 and over. So I mean that’s like a Batphone to me, anytime you wanna call, and we’re not talking about a lot here. The other thing is coming and speaking and motivating folks. You know, my main objective is to help grow the game of golf. You know, I’m a guy from Portland, Maine, you know, I never would’ve dreamed that I would be, you know, caddying on the highest level in the world, you know, and having success that I did, but you never know, golf has no limits. And that’s the great thing about the game. It brings people together, all ages, sexes, races, everything. That’s nothing that can stop us, you know, from all playing golf. So that’s basically what’s on there. There’s a few other things too. And again, they can go to the website and see that. But yeah, it’s all about, you know, creating some excitement and energy for folks to take a swing at golf. I mean, you don’t have to be great at it, but if you just learn the basics, hey, you never know. Five/six years from now, you may be doing a business deal for millions of dollars, all because, you know, your prospective client wanted to play golf. Shon Crewe (22:04): Well, and so true. They say if you want to make deals happen, then the golf course is a great place to do it. The website is GolfMastery.net. Andy Lano was our guest today. Thank you so much for taking the time today, Andy. We really appreciate it. Andy Lano (22:15): Thank you all. Love the show, and I’ll be tuning in.
In early 2019, Andy Lano founded Golf Mastery to help golfers tackle the mental aspect of the game. Based out of Vancouver, Washington, Andy works with players of all ages and skill sets throughout the Pacific Northwest. Visit golfmastery.net to learn more.