Jim “Bones” Mackay is putting down Phil Mickelson’s staff bag and picking up NBC’s microphone.
Mickelson and Mackay announced their split last month, and although Lefty gave lip-service to the idea of Bones grabbing another bag, it’s likely he knew the deal was in the works.
NBC/Golf Channel will put Bones Mackay to work right away, with the longtime looper covering the British Open at Royal Birkdale later this month. He’ll also be on-course for the Presidents Cup and FedExCup playoffs and is expected to work a full schedule in 2018.
NBC reported Mackay has signed a multi-year deal, but didn’t offer additional details. The veteran caddie-turned broadcaster released this statement.
“During my years as a caddie, I had the opportunity to watch Tommy Roy [NBC’s golf producer] work his magic in the production truck, and walk the fairways with Notah Begay, Roger Maltbie and Mark Rolfing,” Mackay said.
“To join them and be a part of the coverage of some of golf’s biggest events – starting with The Open – is an opportunity I’m grateful for, and I’m eager to add my take to help illustrate the strategic decisions golfers face inside the ropes.”
Mackay has already done some announcing work, reporting from the course along with fellow caddie John Wood during the 2015 RSM Classic.
Bones carried Phil’s bag and helped him plot his course for 25 years on the PGA Tour. The pair worked together for 42 of Mickelson’s 43 PGA Tour wins, including five majors. Tim Mickelson, Phil’s brother, will loop for the left-hander for the rest of the 2016-2017 season.
NBC says Mackay is the first full-time caddie to be signed to a broadcasting role. This is significant for a couple of reasons. Certainly, it further legitimizes the caddie profession, which, as we so often belabor, was once much closer to Otto, Happy Gilmore’s caddie, than Bones Mackay or Steve Williams.
Second, the golf viewing public has an increasing appetite for data and top-tier analysis. Bringing in someone who has essentially worked as an “on-course analyst” for the last 25 years to great success will provide both a fresh perspective and a bounty of new, insightful information.
Even if you were occasionally annoyed by the “Phil & Bones Show”, or by commentators fawning over their back and forth, or you thought there was too much back and forth and Phil, you have to be excited for Bones’ small-screen debut; it adds a whole new dimension to golf coverage, which can use all the help it can get.