US Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick is facing a tall task in his first ever Masters appearance. The 19-year-old will need all the help he can get if he wants to make the cut at Augusta, and unfortunately some of that help will be coming from a new caddy.
Fitzpatrick’s caddie Lorne Duncan is suffering from a foot condition that forces him to have to wear sandals in order to avoid tremendous pain. According to the BBC, sandals — along with a long list of other articles of clothing — are prohibited at Augusta National. As a result, Fitzpatrick has been forced to leave the tournament.
“I went to speak to the powers that be at Augusta National about alternative footwear that would allow me to get through the week but my inquiries were met with a resounding ‘No,’” Duncan wrote in a blog post. “My feet were so sore after one practice round in runners that I had no alternative but to withdraw my services.”
Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters competition committee, said that Duncan was treated the same as anyone else and that his health condition was taken into consideration.
“Duncan was told he had to wear tennis shoes like all caddies,” Ridley said. “We are not treating him any different. I am sure whatever reasons he raised were considered.”
Duncan has been venting about the decision on Twitter since it was made. He sent one particularly nasty tweet after he was forced to withdraw.
“Apparently aesthetics are more important than people,” Duncan wrote, according to the BBC. “I told TD [tournament director] he was pathetic. I hate the place.”
Controversy over club policies is nothing new at Augusta. While the footwear issue isn’t nearly as polarizing as the exclusion of women was two years ago, it’s still disappointing that the committee could not make an exception for Duncan. I highly doubt he was lying about a condition simply because he wanted to wear flip-flops.
H/T Extra Mustard