Why Jim 'Bones' Mackay Is Making History In Mexico This Week

Justin Thomas' caddie is set to fill a role that no active looper has ever taken on before

Jim 'Bones' Mackay at the 2023 Scottish Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Thomas' caddie, Jim 'Bones' Mackay is set to earn himself a little piece of history this week when he fulfils lead-analyst duties during NBC Sports' coverage of the Mexico Open on the PGA Tour.

With Thomas opting to have the week off after a disappointing Genesis Invitational and having competed in four of the past five events, the veteran tour looper is taking the opportunity to become the first active caddie ever to serve as the main color-commentator for the broadcaster.

First reported by Golfweek, Mackay is set to fill a hybrid role for NBC in its coverage. The 58-year-old will spend Thursday as an on-course reporter, a position he has previous experience in, before moving into the three-man booth alongside two of Brad Faxon, Steve Sands, and Dan Hicks, who will share hosting duties from Friday to Sunday.

Mackay is the latest in a growing list of names who have stepped in to hold the microphone after Paul Azinger departed NBC shortly after last year's Ryder Cup. Azinger did not have his contract renewed following brief negotiations into an extension, and since then, the American broadcaster has operated a 'rolling audition' as it searches for a long-term replacement.

Former Team Europe Ryder Cup captain and experienced commentator Paul McGinley temporarily stepped up during Tiger Woods' long-awaited comeback at the Hero World Challenge late last year, PGA Tour pro Kevin Kisner has twice had a go (The Sentry and WM Phoenix Open), Curt Byrum was lead analyst at the Sony Open in Hawaii, and Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee filled in across Nick Dunlap's extraordinary win at The American Express.

Jim "Bones" Mackay at the 2021 Honda Classic Honda

Jim 'Bones' Mackay at the 2021 Honda Classic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Since leaving Phil Mickelson's side following 25 years in 2017, 'Bones' has enjoyed several stints as an on-course reporter, including at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. His broadcasting debut arrived in 2015, though, when he was a roving reporter for GOLF Channel’s live tournament coverage of the RSM Classic.

However, according to Golfweek, Mackay is not interested in taking the lead-analyst position in the long term and remains committed to carrying Thomas' bag - a job he has held since 2021.

This week's PGA Tour event at Vidanta is the first of seven consecutive tournaments being broadcast by NBC.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.