‘Long Socks’ takes a break from bag duties – Golf News


John McLaren, the Surrey-based caddie famed for his flamboyant on-course attire, has called time – for now ­– on his 30-year career on the professional tours in order to spend more time with his young family

McLaren, who earned the nickname ‘Long Socks’ on account of his penchant for wearing extended hosiery in order to protect his legs from a childhood burns injury, has hung up his tour bag after a career that saw him work with many of the game’s finest players, including Luke Donald during his time as world No.1, and latterly with Ryder Cup star Paul Casey.
After 30 seasons, 18 wins and a dozen players, the popular 55-year-old has decided to take a step back from caddie duties. The Saudi International, alongside Casey, marked McLaren’s final event as he reverts to family commitments. Had coronavirus not struck, McLaren estimates that he would have carried on working for another three years.

“My children are eight and nine,” said McLaren. “My son broke his arm during the last Ryder Cup and I wasn’t there. My daughter was born during The Open at Lytham in 2012, and because of the timing, I have never really been there for her birthday since.

“Covid travel became so much more difficult. 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.”

McLaren will be missed, including by Casey on account of his career rejuvenation after turning to the experienced bag man in 2015. McLaren cites the “unbelievable experience” of the Rio Olympics, with Casey, as a career highlight. He was also with Luke Donald for the 2012 Miracle of Medinah. “Luke was at the pinnacle of his powers,” McLaren recalls. “I had a great sense of knowing what to do for him at that point. There was great security there.

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.”

McLaren refuses to rule out a return to the fairways, however, albeit after a decent rest. “Firstly, I am going to do school runs,” he says. “I will be on the touchline for kids’ games at school. I will be back on my bike training like I used to. 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.”

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