Tiger Woods will need a new caddie when he returns to competition, and Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Plc. says the favorite is Fanny Sunesson -- who helped Nick Faldo win four major golf championships.
Woods, who won 13 of his 14 major titles with Steve Williams as his caddie over the last 13 years, said two days ago on his website that it’s “time for a change” in announcing the dismissal of Williams. The caddie said the news came as a shock.
Woods, 35, has neither named a replacement nor said when he’ll return to competition. He hasn’t played in a tournament since aggravating knee and ankle injuries at the Players championship in May.
When Woods does return, there’s a 6-4 chance that it will be with Sunesson as his caddie, according to Paddy Power, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker. Sunesson worked with Faldo, an Englishman, from 1990 to 1999 and is now caddying for Henrik Stenson. Both Sunesson and Stenson are from Sweden, as is Elin Nordegren, Woods’s ex-wife who left him after disclosure of the golfer’s multiple affairs.
Byron Bell, the president of Woods’ golf-course design firm, is listed by Paddy Power as the second choice at 13-8. Bell caddied for Woods after his childhood friend fired Mike “Fluff” Cowan in 1999.
Paul Tesori, the caddie for Webb Simpson, is given odds of 7-4, followed by John Wood, who works with Hunter Mahan, at 5-1. Tony Navarro, who recently ended a seven-year partnership with Australia’s Adam Scott, has 6-1 odds of being Woods’s next caddie. Williams will now work full-time for Scott after caddying for him at the U.S. Open and British Open.
Billy Foster, the caddie for Lee Westwood, No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, carried Woods’s bag at the 2005 Presidents Cup and is given odds of 8-1 of succeeding Williams. U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy’s caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, has 12-1 odds at Paddy Power, followed by Joe LaCava at 20-1. LaCava is working with Dustin Johnson after almost two decades with Fred Couples.
Caddies on the U.S. PGA Tour typically get about 10 percent of a golfer’s winnings. Woods has won about $106 million in prize money since 1999, according to his website, meaning Williams may have received about $10 million of that during his tenure with Woods.
Woods is scheduled to participate in an Aug. 31 charity event in New York organized by Notah Begay III, his friend and former teammate at Stanford University. Woods’s tournament schedule remains unclear and he hasn’t said if he’ll play in the PGA Championship, the season’s last major, which will be played Aug. 11-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia.