British amateur golfer Joe Long forced into a late caddy change for Masters … after close friend and first choice tested positive for Covid-19
- Lex Aragon can no longer make a caddy for 23-year-old Bristolian Joe Long
- Long will be forced to use one of the club’s local caddies in Augusta this week
- But Ben Crenshaw won two Masters titles with caddy Carl Jackson in the bag
British amateur Joe Long has been forced into a last-minute caddy change for the Masters after his good friend and first-choice Lex Aragon just tested positive for Covid-19.
“We’re both gutted about it, but it’s just one of those unfortunate things,” said the 23-year-old from Bristol, who feared he might miss the Masters himself a few weeks ago.
Long was surfing in South Africa, where his girlfriend Natasha lives, when he was ‘chewed up’ by a breaking wave.
British golfer Joe Long (right) will be without his caddy Lex Aragon at the Masters this week
“I just instinctively thought it was a torn glute and, as you can imagine, I was really worried when it happened,” he said.
‘I was playing golf a lot and felt like I needed the break. Fortunately, the injury has disappeared and he is now completely healed. ‘
Arrived in America a long time ago two weeks ago and already had a few practice rounds with Augusta.
As he did then, he will now use one of the club’s local caddies this week. It worked well enough for Ben Crenshaw, who won two Masters titles with Augusta caddy Carl Jackson in the bag.
“Playing Augusta was a great experience and everything about the three days I had there was really helpful in helping with the wow factor,” said Long.
Long, now 23, won the Amateur Championship in August 2020 to help him qualify for Augusta
“It was great to see it before all the madness sets in, and I know my local caddy will be very helpful.”
After indulging in the amateur experience and staying at the Craw’s Nest last night – basically student accommodation, located in the attic of the clubhouse – Long will be with his father Ian for the rest of the week.
“He was the only family member who could travel with all disabilities, and of course it takes away something he can’t share with everyone,” Long said.
Long earned his spot at Augusta after winning the amateur championship at Royal Birkdale last August, following a surreal final against fellow Bristolian Joe Harvey. Normally, the pair are practicing partners, or compete for monthly medals, rather than a place at the Masters.
Ben Crenshaw (right) won two Masters championships with local caddy Carl Jackson (left)
Only one British amateur has ever made it halfway to Augusta – Peter McEvoy in 1978. Obviously, Long is not making lofty predictions, or even predictions at all.
“I’m not going to pressure myself to say my intention is to cut halfway through or anything like that,” he said.
‘I understand it would be easy to let the experience consume you. If I can keep my mind on the right track, I will be happy no matter what the outcome. ‘