Before your Saturday tee time, you need to make sure you have a sleeve or two of balls, a glove, a few tees, and all 14 clubs... it's a pretty simple list to remember.
However, for caddies on the PGA TOUR and European Tour, that list can grow substantially. When these athletes are competing for their livelihoods and their pursuit of golf history, caddies come equipped with a staff bag full of golf accessories, clothes, snacks, and knick-knacks in addition to a 14-club set. And when it comes to The Open Championship, packing the right items is even more crucial.
On Friday, July 13, Dustin Johnson and his caddie (and brother) Austin Johnson were packing their bags ahead of their flight to Carnoustie, Scotland. But beyond packing their suitcase, Austin had the responsibility of ensuring DJ's 2018 Major Edition Staff Bag was fully stocked with everything he needs to take on the challenge—and conditions—of links golf.
We caught up with AJ to hear the complete grocery list of items he will have in the bag at The Open Championship.
"AUSTIN JOHNSON'S WITB"
When did DJ first start using 1960s quarters as his ball mark?
"As far back as I can remember, he's always used a quarter from the 60s and then tried to shoot that number. We probably have 15 quarters from the low 60s in the bag... then depending on the morning, he may say, "63, I like that one." There's no real rhyme or reason to it, we just grab a quarter from the low 60s and hope he shoots it!"
Any other "lucky" items you guys keep in the bag?
"Sometimes a kid will give him something, one of our police officers will give him a coin from their department, or someone from the Pro-Am will give DJ an item, and yeah, he'll keep it in the bag for good luck.
But he's pretty easy. He doesn't make me carry around a rabbit's foot or anything like that."
As far as tees go, does DJ have a preference on color or material?
"It has to be the white TaylorMade wooden tees. If they stay in the bag too long and they start to fade, I need to take them out and restock them with the fresh white ones. He won't even use the ones they have on the driving range—he needs his TaylorMade white tees."
Is there any additional rain gear that you include specifically for The Open?
"I put extra socks in the bag. It's always a good idea to bring extra towels. Depending on how bad the weather is supposed to be, he may grab an extra sweater to keep in the bag. Regardless of the weather, I'll always keep his jacket and the umbrella in the bag at the very least."
Any items that you keep for yourself in the bag?
"I try to minimize what I put in there for myself, just for weight purposes. I'll have my cell phone and a couple of extra pencils."
How much does the bag weigh for an event like The Open?
"Fully loaded with rain gear, I think it's about 50 pounds. With no rain gear, it's probably closer to 35 pounds."
What makes stocking the bag for The Open more challenging than a normal Tour event?
"You can get a sideways rain going at The Open, so you can go through a lot of towels. It's so important to keep DJ's grips clean and his hands dry, so you definitely need to pack more towels than any other Tour event.
Sometimes an umbrella is worthless at The Open. It can be so windy that you'll end up doing more work and getting more wet using the umbrella than you would if you just accept the conditions and wear it."
For Dustin Johnson, having his brother on the bag is paying dividends. Austin has a clear grasp of every item DJ needs to be successful, and he has his bag inventory down to this precise list. But once the bag is packed, AJ's job is only getting started...
Stay tuned later this week to hear the details of their player-caddie relationship on the course, potential equipment changes for Carnoustie, and how they're prepping for the 2018 Open Championship.
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