Esteban Toledo is normally trying to beat Sandy Lyle on the Champions Tour but has gladly given up his own clubs for a pair of white overalls to caddie for the 1988 champion this week.
As a professional himself, coming to Augusta National as a player was one of Toledo’s dreams. Unfortunately for the Mexican, that never materialised, but he is delighted to be here at last in another capacity.
“He’s such a likeable guy (it takes one to know one),” said Lyle, pictured, of the 53-year-old, who had two runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour but has racked up four wins on the over-50s circuit, including the Allianz Championship earlier this year. “He said to me about a month and a half ago, ‘I just want to be involved in the Masters so c’mon I will caddie for you’.”
According to Toledo, he was lying on a beach in Los Cabos when his plea got the green light. It is a decision Lyle is comfortable with. “He’s good on the yardage ,” said the Scot. “While most caddies get the yardage right, Esteban just seems to understand my game more than a normal caddie would do. He won’t take any money, but I will give him something as he’s not going to caddie for me for nothing.”
It sounds as though payment for Toledo would be helping Lyle make it to the weekend on his 35th appearance in the event. “I’m here to do a job,” he said. “I want Sandy to play on Saturday and Sunday. I know I can help him, and he has the game to do it.”
Given that Toldeo was once a boxer, it seemed appropriate that Lyle used that sport when asked what main piece of advice he’d offer to his compatriot, Russell Knox, for his debut in the event today.
“Playing here is a bit like when you go into a boxing match and you need to suss out the guy you are boxing against,” he said. “If you come out straight away attacking the flag at Augusta, you find yourself taking doubles, triples and so on, and you start asking yourself, ‘why did I do that?’ ”