Jim “Bones” Mackay will soon return to the fairways of the PGA Tour, just not in his old role.
Mackay, who spent the past 25 years as the caddie for Phil Mickelson, will join Golf Channel and NBC as an on-course reporter, the network announced Thursday. Mackay will start his new job in two weeks at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Mackay also will cover this year’s FedExCup Playoffs and Presidents Cup.
“To join (NBC Sports) and be a part of the coverage of some of golf’s biggest events – starting with The Open – is an opportunity I’m very grateful for,” Mackay said in a release. “I’m eager to add my take to help illustrate the strategic decisions golfers face inside the ropes.
Mackay and Mickelson were known for their lengthy banter before shots, which was often captured by on-course microphones. Their debates about the myriad ways the imaginative Mickelson could potentially play a shot became the subject of memes and social-media satire. Fans appreciated how their conversations provided insight into one of golf’s most creative minds. Mackay, who could famously veto one shot per year, often played the conservative foil to his boss, who had a reputation as a swash-buckling shot-maker who reveled in risk.
Mackay, 52, was on the bag for 41 of Mickelson’s 42 career wins and all five of his major championships, including the 2013 Open Championship. Mickelson has played in all 11 Presidents Cups, starting in 1994.
A good player in his own right – he was a NCAA Division II All-American at Columbus State in 1988 – Mackay is known for a cerebral approach to the game that complemented Mickelson so well. Mackay said it was his love of the game that led to this new role.
“I was a golf rat as a kid. I would watch everything from start to finish. I would read golf magazines from beginning to end,” Mackay said. “I’ve always been fascinated by the game at this level.”
“Bones thinks like a producer,” said Roy, who gave Mackay his first crack at broadcasting at the 2015 RSM Classic. Both Mackay and Matt Kuchar’s caddie, John Wood, were on-course reporters for Golf Channel’s coverage that week.
Mackay has signed a multi-year deal with Golf Channel and NBC, according to the release, marking the first time a full-time caddie has been added to a network’s broadcasting team.
“The player-caddie dynamic in golf is often one of the most compelling and unique narratives being captured during our coverage,” said Roy. “Bones has a career’s worth of experience being immersed in the most pressure-packed situations on golf’s biggest stages working alongside Phil, one of the most cerebral champions in the sport.”
THE PLAYERS Championship, SBS Tournament of Champions, World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play are among the other tournaments on Golf Channel and NBC’s broadcast schedule.