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Popular British caddie Johnny McLaren, known affectionately as ‘Long Socks’ has officially retired. The Saudi International marked his last tournament in what has been a remarkable 30 year career.
For the last six years, McLaren has looped for Paul Casey, currently ranked 27th in the Official World Golf Ranking. During that time, the pair won back to back titles on the PGA Tour, along with two other wins on the DP World Tour. Speaking of their relationship, Casey said, “We didn’t know each other very well when we started. It was a business relationship and we’ve become best mates”. Casey now faces the difficult task of replacing Long Socks, who was a key part of the Englishman's return to form.
Prior to Casey, McLaren carried the bag for Luke Donald as he reached World No.1 and claimed the season long money titles on both the PGA and DP World Tour. He was also a key figure to Team Europe during the Ryder Cup.
In October 2021, the 55 year-old took an ‘indefinite mental health break” from the game. The strain of regular cross-Atlantic travel during a global pandemic took its toll however, he did return to the circuit. This time, his mind is seemingly made up.
McLaren will now return home to Surrey to spend more time with his family. Speaking to the Guardian, he said, “My children are eight and nine. 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 then 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".
“I will miss aspects of this. The camaraderie, the competition. I can’t say I haven’t got an ego because there’s enough of that in there to still make me want to be better than everybody else at this job. It rubs your ego when you do well. I will miss people like [coach] Jamie Gough, a friend I have had for a long time. People like Ian Poulter. I think the world of Ian and I wouldn’t have had that without Ryder Cups".
Long Socks refused to completely rule out a return in future but did admit the chances were slim. “I’ll play a bit more social golf. I know for the next six to eight months there is pretty much no chance I’ll be back out here unless a World No.1 to 8 calls and says they would like my help to be better. For the foreseeable future, I will be at home".
Happy retirement, John - We will miss you.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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