Who Is Paul Casey’s Caddie?

With John McLaren spending time out of the game, Casey has turned to a bagman he’s had some success with in the past

Paul Casey and John McLaren at the 2020 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Who Is Paul Casey's Caddie?

Paul Casey’s permanent caddie had been the vastly experienced John McLaren until October 2021. However, the strains of transatlantic travel during Covid-19 led to “Long Socks” temporarily stepping away from his duties.

To fill that sizeable gap, Casey turned first to New Zealander Tim Butler, then to a more familiar face – Australian Shannon Willis. McLaren was back at Casey’s side early in 2022. However, after the Saudi International in February, McLaren – who has three decades of experience and has also caddied for Luke Donald – took another break, citing family matters and the travel situation.

“My children are eight and nine,” says McLaren. “My son broke his arm during the last Ryder Cup and I wasn’t there. My daughter was born during Lytham in 2012 and because of the Open, I have never really been there for her birthday. Covid travel became so much more difficult. I have no mental health issues but I understand that there are a lot around because of this climate. I am mentally more tired because of travel and anxiety of testing positive after a two or three-week trip than being stuck in a country when I have young kids. Similarly, I go home and they are in school and I worried about not being able to get back out to work. That created a lot of uncertainty I’d rather not have to deal with.” 

Casey had been with McLaren since 2016, and he helped rejuvenate his career. Casey finished sixth at The Masters in 2017, and achieved victories at the 2018 and 2019 Valspar Championship, the 2020 Porsche European Open and the 2021 Omega Dubai Desert Classic. So, whoever replaced him would face a daunting task. When Casey initially teamed up with McLaren, he struck a deal with him: whenever McLaren wanted to take a break, he would pick Casey’s replacement. McLaren did just that for the 2017 Travelers Championship, selecting Shannon Wallis as Casey’s temporary bagman.

The choice worked, with Casey finishing the tournament tied for fifth. “I hope Johnny’s sending me good vibes and not sticking needles in a Shannon Wallis doll,” Casey joked after Wallis helped him elevate his performance. Not only that, but Wallis wore the same type of mid-calf socks McLaren was known for. “I love the fact that he’s channeled his inner ‘Johnny Long Socks’ this week and turned up with long socks to try to make me feel better,” Casey said.

Paul Casey and Shannon Wallis at the 2017 Travelers Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With McLaren no longer an option – at least for the time being – Casey once again turned to Wallis for the 2022 Genesis Invitational. Then, after a brief change when Emiliano Grillo’s caddie, Butler, accompanied Casey at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Wallis was back on the bag for the Players Championship the following week, where Casey finished third. Wallis began caddying on the PGA Tour in 2004 and, before Casey, was most recently caddying for Jonas Blixt. In addition, Wallis has looped for other players, including Marcus Fraser, Nathan Green, Matt Jones, Jarrod Lyle, Steven Bowditch, Kevin Stadler and Brandt Snedeker.

It remains to be seen how long Wallis will caddie for Casey. Indeed, during the Players Championship, when asked about the situation, Casey responded: “Johnny may come back. It was always a sabbatical. It was burnout. More time at home with the family. The stresses of flying back to London every weekend, and if he’s going to test positive for Covid and be in a hotel and all that stuff. It was just stressful for him. I’m sure I was stressful for him, too.”

Paul Casey and Shannon Wallis at the 2022 Players Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Casey said of the link-up with Wallis: “Shan is just helping out. Shan was working for Jonas Blixt, and he’s worked for me before at various events. I know him, I’m very comfortable with him. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s funny. We’ll see, but I just have not decided what I’m going to do long-term yet.”

For however long Wallis remains on the bag, Casey will be hopeful that his vast experience can help him build on some encouraging signs. However, it seems as though Casey still harbours hopes of a comeback from McLaren. Speaking of his bond with Long Socks, he said: “I miss him. I miss the chat.”

How Much Does Paul Casey’s Caddie Make?

Casey earned over $3.1m in 2020/21 – 34th on the list of highest earners on the PGA Tour. Typically, caddies take a cut of up to 10% of that figure. Therefore, if the Englishman replicates that form this year, and Wallis remains on the bag, he an expect to earn around $300,000.

Mike Hall
Freelance Staff Writer

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.