Jessica Korda and her caddie weren’t seeing eye to eye during the third round of the U.S. Women’s open on Saturday and so she fired him.
On the spot. In the middle of the round.
The 20-year-old American golfer turned to her boyfriend, Johnny DelPrete, who was following her in the gallery, as a replacement and he carried the bag the rest of the way on a windy day at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.
“I just told him, ‘Johnny, grab the bag, let’s go.'” Korda said.
The change did her some good. After finishing the front nine at 5 over par, Korda improved to 1 over on the back nine and completed the round with a 4-over 76. She’s in sixth place at 1 over for the tournament, 11 shots behind leader Inbee Park, going into the final round on Sunday.
It is not like DelPrete is a novice. A professional golfer, DelPrete played on the Web.com Tour in 2012. But it was his first time as Korda’s caddie.
“The first few holes I was very shaky, but my boyfriend/caddie kept me very calm out there and kept it very light,” Korda said. “And it was kind of funny seeing him fumble over yardage.”
Korda and her regular caddie, Jason Gilroyed, had a shouting match during the round — on a day when difficult conditions sent scores soaring — and that was it.
“We had a couple of disagreements here and there, and I wasn’t in the right
state of mind,” Korda said. “I knew I needed to switch and just have a little bit more fun out there. It’s a U.S. Open. It’s tough out there. It just wasn’t working out.
“It was tough for me because I care about Jason a lot. He is a great guy. That’s just how it happens sometimes in life. That was one of those things today that it just unfolded. It was very hard for me to do. I’m not that type of person to take these things really easily. For me it was very hard to tell him that and it took a lot for me.”
Korda’s father, Petr, is a former Australian Open tennis champion who is carrying the bag this week for his younger daughter and Jessica’s sister, Nelly. The 14-year-old is tied for 61st at 13 over after shooting a 79 on Saturday.
Dad will stay on Nelly’s bag for the final round and DelPrete will stick with Jessica.
As for the future, Korda is not sure whether she will reunite with Gilroyed.
“I think everybody has problems every week,” Korda said. “You blame the caddie, the caddie blames you. It’s just up in the air. I just felt like enough was enough today. I just wasn’t mentally ready for it.