One of the longest standing player-caddie relationships in professional golf is no more.
The Caddie Network reports that Zach Johnson and longtime looper Damon Green have parted ways. The pair did so recently after 15 years together, with Johnson being the initiator of the split.
“Zach said, ‘I think we need to take a break. It’s not a ‘firing.’ We’re too good friends for that.’” Green told The Caddie Network. “I just think he didn’t want to say the word ‘fire.’ I was shocked.”
His surprise is understandable. Green, 58, made what appeared at the time to be a risky decision when he left Scott Hoch (an 11-time PGA Tour winner) for Johnson, then just a PGA Tour rookie for the 2004 season.
Hoch had won more than $1 million on the PGA Tour in every season from 1996 through 2003 and when Johnson was looking for a caddie for his rookie season and ran into Green, he didn’t even consider the looper because of his affiliation with Hoch.
“I told (Damon) I needed a caddie, so if you know any experienced guys looking for a bag let me know,” Johnson said in 2004, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “But in the back of my mind I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way. I’m not even going to bother him.’ I mean, Damon has Scott Hoch. Scott’s a horse. The ATM machine, as guys like to say.”
Johnson was coming off a first-place finish on the Web.com Tour (then the Nationwide Tour) in 2003, though, and Hoch had experienced an up-and-down 2003 PGA Tour season in which he missed seven cuts and withdrew from two events as a hand injury nagged him.
Ultimately, Green decided to make the jump to Johnson.
What a choice that turned out to be, as the pair would go on to capture two majors (the 2007 Masters and the 2015 Open Championship) and 11 overall PGA Tour titles together. Johnson has 12 total PGA Tour wins to his name, with only one not coming with Green on the bag because the looper was playing in the U.S. Senior Open during that particular Johnson triumph.
Per The Caddie Network, Johnson is expected to hire Brett Waldman as Green’s replacement. Waldman has caddied for Charley Hoffman.
Green told The Caddie Network that he hopes to return to caddieing soon but that he will take time to assess the situation.