May 19, 2024

As Tommy Fleetwood’s long-standing caddie Ian Finnis continues to recover at home from open-heart surgery last month, the World No.11 has borrowed former Ryder Cup teammate, Ian Poulter’s current looper for this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.


Finnis was admitted into hospital a few weeks before The Masters, leaving Fleetwood to secure his best-ever finish (T3) around Augusta – and a life-changing payday for Gray Moore, a former caddie master at the golfing nirvana – without his regular sidekick.


As the Englishman broke his top-10 duck at Augusta, though, his 44-year-old caddie was undergoing successful open-heart surgery at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital after medics discovered life-threatening issues.


Somewhat surprisingly, Fleetwood’s caddie of seven years revealed he was asked to do limited exercise the day after being in intensive care. But Finnis admitted it did do him some good and he is aiming to be back alongside his mate Fleetwood at the Scottish Open in July.


Speaking to The Telegraph, Finnis said: “They had me attempting to walk the day after in intensive care. It’s a balance, but you need to use your heart to get it better. I’m aiming to get back in July for the Scottish Open and then the Open the week after.”


Ian Finnis and Tommy Fleetwood at the 2022 Players Championship


Ian Finnis and Tommy Fleetwood at the 2022 Players Championship


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fleetwood insists he has told his buddy not to rush back and make sure he is absolutely fit before returning to the strenuous role of caddying.


He said: “I’ve spoken to him a lot through the whole thing, obviously, and the process went from not knowing what’s wrong to finding out and not believing this is actually happening, to worrying about the operation.


But it’s great that the operation was a success and that he’s on the mend. His aim is Scotland, but I’ve told him the thing is not to rush. You get wrapped up in what you’re doing out here, but this has told us that health is everything.”


For now, Fleetwood is making do with temporary caddies – his latest being David Clark – Poulter’s assistant. Also an Englishman, Clark has worked for the likes of Justin Rose, Vijay Singh, Adam Scott, and Michelle Wie West during a 20-plus-year career.


Discussing what he brings to the table as a caddie in a 2021 PGA Tour interview alongside Rose, Clark said: “That is one thing I think I help players with – loosening them up and being happy and trying to just take them away from what they’re trying to do out there.”


David Clark and Justin Rose at the 2021 Wyndham Championship


David Clark and Justin Rose at the 2021 Wyndham Championship


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Clark also helped out Cameron Champ at the Wells Fargo Championship last week and could well return to Fleetwood’s side for the third men’s Major of the year at Pinehurst No. 2 course.


“It’s great to have him, as he is very experienced,” Fleetwood said of Clark. “I spoke to Poults and he was great about it. Clarky worked last week and is here this week, and hopefully will be at the US Open next month. It doesn’t conflict with Poults’ schedule so all good.”


Fleetwood is set to tee off alongside Bryson DeChambeau and Akshay Bhatia at 8:59am in round one of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

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