Since turning pro 15 years ago, Walker has claimed five PGA Tour wins with career earnings to the tune of $19 million. Walker, who is currently ranked 48th in the world, also won $801,019 on the Web.com Tour.
His caddie, Andy Sanders has joined the 37-year-old golfer on the PGA Tour since 2008. However, Sanders’ and Walker’s relationship formed years earlier.
Here’s what you need to know about Sanders, and his partnership with Walker.
1. Sanders Is a Former Golf Pro
Sanders, who attended the University of Houston on a golf scholarship, was one of the country’s top junior golfers. Following his college graduation, he played on the Nationwide Tour from 2002 to 2004.
However, a blind spot in his right eye led Sanders to discover that he had multiple sclerosis. He continued to play, but experienced vertigo as a result of muscle injections he received to treat MS.
“My playing career ended because of the medicine, not the MS. Those shots depressed me night and day. They gave me vertigo and losing my balance was the end of my playing career,” Sanders said during an interview with One Shot at a Time. “There is no way you can’t look back and have some second thoughts. I made my choices at the time and now I am incredibly fortunate with my family and hopefully I have a great career ahead of me.”
In an interview with PGATour.com, Sanders spoke about his transition from player to caddie:
Being incredibly competitive, sometimes its hard not being the one making the swing and having total control of the outcome. But I have a big impact on what goes on. Even though I’m not the one hitting the shots, I still get the rush and butterflies whether it’s Thursday on the first tee or Sunday when we are in contention.
2. He Turned Pro the Same Year as Walker
While Sanders was at Houston, Walker was playing golf at Baylor. Since the two are the same age, their paths crossed on the college circuit. They turned pro the same year, in 2001.
Sanders and Walker were at similar stages in their career when they both attended the Canadian Tour Qualifying School. They spent many Mondays playing against each other to qualify for Nationwide Tour spots, according to One Shot at a Time. Their friendship continued to develop while the two played together on the Nationwide Tour.
“Andy was a world beater during his junior and college golf days,” Walker told PGATour.com. “(Lucas) Glover, (Charles) Warren and (Jonathan) Byrd, all these guys playing on Tour, were the names I heard growing up, and Andy Sanders was right up there with them.”
3. Walker Asked Sanders to Join Him on the PGA Tour in 2008
In 2007, Walkers and Sanders re-connected at a Nationwide Tour event in West Virginia.
“I was at this tournament caddying for a player named Jason Schultz and Jimmy came to me and asked me to give him a putting lesson. It was kind of weird. Here I am caddying for another player and giving an opposing player a lesson,” Sanders told One Shot at a Time. “Jimmy wound up winning that tournament and during the Nationwide Tour Championship that fall, he asked me if I would caddy for him on the PGA Tour in 2008.”
4. Walker Has Claimed 5 PGA Tour Titles with Sanders
With Sanders on the bag, Walker has won five PGA Tour events. In 2014, he won three times, had 10 top 10 finishes, and earned nearly $5.8 million in prize money. However, their partnership didn’t start out as smooth.
Walker and Sanders only made $282,249 in their first year working together. It was hardly enough to break even with expenses. Since then, however, Walker has continued to make strides– increasing his PGA Tour earnings every year since 2008. He had a break through year in 2011, when he reached the million dollar mark in earnings.
Walker is still in search of his first major tournament win.
5. He Reportedly Earned $680,000 in 2014
Both publications reported Sanders’ earnings at $680,000 for the 2014 season.
“Andy is one of the best putters I have ever known,” Walker told PGATour.com. “He’s great at reading greens, and even though we have different playing styles he helps me see courses in a different way. He knows my swing, and we can talk about it when something is working and when something isn’t working.”