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The life of a professional caddie (whose day job is IT!)

The life of a professional caddie (whose day job is IT!)

After four weeks away from his office desk, our Business Development Manager James Williams, is now back to reality.

You may have noticed that James took the opportunity to caddie for Scottish professional golfer Russell Knox. Being a caddie is an incredibly important role, and can make or break a golfer’s performance on the golf course. It was a big responsibility for James, but also an experience that took him back to his professional caddying days.

We didn’t let James forget about ValueLicensing and his daily role though! Due to the benefits of being able to work away from the office, James juggled the caddying world with his work commitments. In a society where they say there is ‘more work, less play’, ValueLicensing were pleased to see James prove this saying wrong by enjoying one of his passions, as well as being our Business Development Manager, thanks to today’s technology.

We caught up with James to talk about his experience, what his responsibilities were as a caddie as well as how he managed his personal and work commitments around four of the world’s most prestigious golfing events.

Give us an insight into what your responsibilities are as a caddie?

It’s never ending and covers everything, calculating the yardage, making sure you know where the wind is coming from, slightly get this wrong mixed with the right or wrong club selection will be the difference in making or breaking your week. Best friend and worst enemy rolled into one, punch bag, butler, counsellor, the roll of a caddie covers everything and more. All these skillsets are needed in a structured Monday – Sunday caddie working week, and to make it even more pressured, there is no safety net of a working notice period or regular income.

You have been a caddie for 24 years and have worked with various professional golfers. What inspired you to become a golf caddie, and how did you end up working with the likes of Nick O’Hern, Alex Noren, KJ Choi and most recently Russell Knox?

I had a friend who was caddying for a Derbyshire professional called DJ Russell, and he suggested that I gave it a go! I was in the golf industry at the time, but couldn’t really see longevity in it. I was relatively young and wanted to travel, explore and make opportunities for myself. So I ended up packing my bags and went on tour in 1996.

The life of a professional caddie (whose day job is IT!)
The life of a professional caddie (whose day job is IT!)

Most recently, you have been caddying for Russell Knox at four European Tour events including The Open. Did you come across any challenges during the events, and how did you overcome them?

Challenges present themselves regularly when the tournament starts, it’s difficult to explain, but my way of dealing with challenges is through staying calm, and thinking clearly when you are in contention of winning an event. Things can speed up, routines can change and adrenaline flows, however I have always kept it simple and clear, the last thing your player wants to see or feel is an over excited caddie getting ahead of themselves. This can happen very easily, and before you know it the opportunity to post a score, or the chance to win the event has gone, usually with consequences.

What has been your highlight over the four events?

The way Russell played in all 4 events was an extremely high consistent standard. France was good, quality shots all day long on the Sunday around a very tough course was very impressive. He was actually robbed of a hole in one on the 8th, a 6 iron that never left the flag and actually went around the cup and finished 2inches from the hole! That right there is the closest shot I have seen to a hole in one – gutted! Ireland, stating the obvious, he won the event in dramatic style, holing 2 putts, 1 getting him to tie the lead, the other to win it on the first playoff hole – but the whole week his driving, iron play was incredible, it didn’t matter what club he hit, it was laser like in very testing windy conditions.

Scotland was a shame, managing my own expectations we were in a great position going into Sunday, but Sunday tested everything we had, and eventually the adrenaline that carried Russell through from the week in Ireland ran out. He didn’t play too badly, quite the opposite, we had a lot of good chances, but the putts never dropped and when we slightly missed our targets we got punished – it can be a cruel frustrating game at times!

The Open – the best event in my golfing world, Russell had never played with Tiger Woods before, we were drawn with him the first two rounds – you simply won’t get a bigger draw card in golf! Russell started playing the game due to Tiger, a massive occasion for Russell, which he handled incredibly well.

I have been lucky and paired with Tiger several times before, the attention Tiger gets is huge, people forget or don’t see this as they watch at home, but this guy deals with so much attention and delivers every single time. Although not yet back to his best, you can see he is extremely close to winning again, he still hits every shot as required, distance control, speed, strike, and his short game is all there.

Congratulations to Russell Knox and our very own James Williams!
The life of a professional caddie (whose day job is IT!)

You have supported Russell Knox throughout these events. Did you give Russell any advice on the course that made a positive impact on his performance and if so what did you advise?

Yes, but you best ask Russell this one, straight from the horse’s mouth.

ValueLicensing allowed you to escape the office for four weeks to caddie for Russell Knox. How do you feel as an employee to be given permission to work offsite, to be able to play a major supporting role for Russell Knox?

It is fantastic. It is all about opportunity, the timing was perfect and as a business ValueLicensing is growing organically. Pushing our brand and business model is challenging, but without question every single business should know about ValueLicensing and the pre-owned software industry. Our profile and enquiries trebled whilst I was caddying, and the momentum from LinkedIn and Twitter boosted the business no end.

If there is one thing that you have taken away from this experience over the last four weeks, what is it? 

It’s reminded me how much I enjoyed the sharp end of professional competitive golf, and the attention to detail! Chances to win golfing events don’t come around as often as you would like them, being in a position to challenge for a title with 9 holes to go is what it’s all about. Getting to this position takes patience, courage and to hit the right shots at the right time, being part of a team that takes the chance and win is absolutely amazing.

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