On Thursday, as Phil Mickelson started his golf career without his longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay announced he is joining Golf Channel’s coverage for the rest of the season.
Mickelson’s caddie for 25 years, Mackay will start his new job at the British Open.
He held a conference call to discuss his new role. Here are some highlights, courtesy of NBC Sports Group.
Question: Can you expand a little bit on who have you learned from, who have you sought advice from, or are you going to seek advice from, about what happens when that microphone goes in your hand?
Answer: Well, I’ve been friends with Tommy (Roy, Golf Channel producer) for years, and we’ve had meals together and just conversations on the range.
One of the things I always respected so much about Tommy is he would be there on the range watching guys warm up, talking to people. Obviously getting a feel for how the broadcast was going to shape up there in the next few hours.
But certainly, Tommy Roy, you know, is someone I’m going to be — I’m going to drive him nuts in the next couple of weeks here as we get ready to go.
I’ve had a lot of friends in this business for a lot of years. Some of the great people in the golf world are ladies and gentlemen that work in the television world. Steve Sands has been tremendously helpful to me. Roger Maltbie, who I worked with a little bit when I did work at the RSM Classic a couple years was fantastic to be around. I’m going to drive these guys nuts with a lot of questions.
Q. What do you expect from Phil this weekend without you on the bag?What are your emotions, if you are going to watch this weekend? What do you think your emotions will be, and are you leaving the door open should you get a call down the road from another Tour player?
A. Well, one thing I can tell you with all the certainty in the world is that Phil is one of the best players in the world, without question.
I think that — I’ve said for years that Phil is going to win on the PGA Tour, in my opinion, into his 50s. His health, knock-on-wood, has been really good, and as he’s proved this year and as he proved last year and as he proves every year, he’s incredibly competitive. His will to win is as high as it was when he was 22.
I expect him to do what the best players in the world do, which is to contend and to win tournaments, without question. If it happened this week, you know, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Phil is that guy that when there’s stuff going on, and whether it’s him splitting with his caddie or flying back and forth across the country to attend a recital for his daughter as he did a few years ago for the U.S. Open, he’ll show up and play when everybody’s expecting him necessarily not to. He’s going to win tournaments. That’s the bottom line. That’s what he does for a living in a sense.
What are my emotions? My emotions are that I hope it goes really, really well for he and Tim. I texted him this morning and wished him luck. My life is so much better for having worked with Phil. He’s been great to my family. He’s been great to me. I wish and I hope everything goes incredibly well for them.
Q. Why did TV work intrigue you in the first place?
A. I love the game, and you know, I was kind of a golf rat as a kid. As a kid, I would watch everything from start to finish. I would read golf magazines from beginning to end. I’ve always just been really fascinated by the game at this level.
Certainly when I was lucky enough to get to caddie on the PGA Tour, and you’re just kind of taking everything in around you, the TV aspect of it I thought was really, really interesting, and I loved watching those guys do their thing and the whole autonomy of words and all that.
Then when you become friends with them and you learn so much more over dinners and things like that, it’s intriguing.
Q. Did you get any other offers from television, or since leaving or splitting with Phil, did you get any fun, crazy offers you can tell us about?
A. Not too much I can tell you about. I appreciate the question. People were really nice in the days after Phil and I split up, and I had several opportunities to do things.
I really appreciate the folks that reached out, and I’m really glad to be where I am.