Mark Steinberg, Woods’ longtime agent, told ESPN at Quail Hollow Club on Tuesday that LaCava called Woods to get his blessing before making the decision.
“Joe called Tiger to ask him and get his approval,” Steinberg said. “Of course, Tiger gave it. Tiger and Joe are like brothers, tremendous friends. You shouldn’t read anything more in to that other than Joe wants to caddie. He loves it. It’s his passion. He’s great at it and one of the best.”
Woods, 47, announced on April 19 that he had undergone surgery to fuse bones in his right ankle to address post-traumatic arthritis that was caused by injuries suffered in a February 2021 car wreck. The 15-time major champion said the subtalar fusion procedure was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley at HSS Sports Medicine Institute in New York.
Woods has previously said his hope going forward would be to play in golf’s four major championships. There are three remaining this year — the PGA Championship (May 18-21), the U.S. Open (June 15-18) and The Open (July 20-23) — and given the usual recovery time for such a procedure, the recent surgery would suggest his 2023 season is likely done.
Steinberg told ESPN on Tuesday that there was no timeline for Woods’ recovery to golf. He said his client was resting and recovering.
LaCava spent 20 years on Fred Couples’ bag and worked with Dustin Johnson for four years. Woods hired LaCava in 2011 after splitting with longtime caddie Steve Williams.
“Tiger said repeatedly he’s going to play a very limited schedule around the majors, his events, the father-son, assuming that everything goes well in the rehab and recovery,” Steinberg said. “Joe wants to work, and so I think Tiger got that. We’re just moving on.”
LaCava replaces Matt Minister, Cantlay’s caddie since 2017. Cantlay, the fourth-ranked player in the world, is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and is seeking his first major championship victory.