Decorated bagman Jim 'Bones' Mackay has won everything in golf. But now, after aiding Justin Thomas to PGA Championship glory, he finally has the one thing he never got his hands on
It’s generally a tradition for a major championship-winning player’s caddie to have the flag from the 18th hole following the conclusion of the tournament. Unless, it seems, you happened to have spent the majority of your career working for Phil Mickelson.
So when Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay helped Justin Thomas to a second PGA Championship victory at Southern Hills, it was the first time he got to keep the memento. Despite winning five majors together, his old boss never allowed it.
When Bones was on Mickelson’s bag at the 2005 PGA Championship, Lefty reportedly gave the 18th flag to his grandfather after his victory at Baltusrol.
According to Alan Shipnuck in Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and unauthorized) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar‘, Mackay’s close friends took the shunning as a sign of disrespect.
“Mackay understood and respected that gesture, but 19 more tour victories would follow, including four majors, and he never got to keep a single flag,” Shipnuck writes in his explosive new book.
Quoting an associate of Mackay, Shipnuck adds: “That’s a giant f*** you to a caddie. When Phil wins the Masters, he gets the Green Jacket, the trophy, the big cheque, all the glory. He had to take the flags, too? For Phil not to follow the tradition was hugely disrespectful.”
After receiving the gift in person from his new employer – as well as being credited as a huge reason behind the victory – Bones finally has a flag he can call his own.