“Everything about Seve was wonderful” – Billy Foster
Ahead of this week’s PGA Championship, Billy Foster, speaks about the talents of Seve
Billy Foster is no stranger to the world of golf having been a caddy for 40 years.
He has caddied for the likes of the late great Seve Ballesteros, serial winner Lee Westwood, a certain Tiger Woods and one of the most consistent golfers on tour now Matt Fitzpatrick.
You would spend a lot of time searching for a caddy over the decades and a variety of experiences in coaching such star power.
‘Everything about Seve was wonderful’
The charisma, the imagination, his genius, his technique and everything about Seve was just wonderful. He took things to a different level. When I started working for him I’d been to every Open Championship since I was a nine-year-old so he was my boyhood hero. To think eight years after I started caddying him, you are going to end up working for your boyhood heroes, it really was surreal.
Every time you went to the tee there was an aura around him. You could feel the hairs on your arms stand up, the crowds embracing this God, this magician. Every day was really special because you always saw one or two shots which left you thinking, ‘What is that?’ It was unbelievable. How did he even begin to see that? His fighting attitude had always stayed with me.
‘Seve is the most naturally gifted player I ever saw’
Seve was the most naturally gifted player I ever saw, by miles. That was the downfall of Seve. Firstly, he got a terribly bad back, he started going all technical and working on his swing. That has never been Seve’s forte.
The success of Nick Faldo at the time when he remodelled his swing, made him think he had to go down that route, trying to get different swing positions. That just confused him and tied him in knots.
Ultimately his back wouldn’t let him do it anymore. He was a shadow of his former self after a few years of working for him really. I got the last four or five great years out of him. It was just an honour to be by the side of a great champion.
‘There was nobody like Seve’
There was nobody like him, an absolute animal. There was an animal in him. There was the fruitcake story in the World Matchplay. Seve swallowed a piece of fruitcake and started coughing at the top of Nick Price’s backswing. He duffed the shot. We got to the last and Nick had a ten-foot putt and I said, Seve, give it to him.
He said, What, why are you crazy? I said sorry to him on the fairway. I told him that it would be the right thing to do to avoid any controversy. He wasn’t having it. Thank goodness Nick made the putt. He wrote me a letter when he decided to appoint me.
It’s on my office wall. Basically states ‘Hello Billy, I’ve been watching you for a while, I like your attitude. I’d like you to consider working for me next season.
Then the next few paragraphs were: ‘Now these are my conditions. ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you can’t talk to the press, no arguing on the course and a proper lecture. It puts the fear of God into you straight out the blocks.”
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