American golfer Patrick Cantlay‘s caddie at the 2019 Masters Tournament is Matt Minister. The veteran caddie has worked alongside numerous high profile athletes including Nick Price, Chris Smith, Joe Durant, David Eger, Chip Beck, Eric Compton, Jeff Sluman, and Sang Moon Bae.
Minister is originally from Worthington, Ohio, and played golf while attending Ohio State University, and has worked as a professional caddie for 16 years. One of his greatest career moments includes winning the 2002 Buick Classic with Chris Smith. “We were longtime friends,” Minister told the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC). and to see him succeed was an incredible feeling!”
Prior to teaming up with Cantlay, Minister spent three full seasons with Korean golfer Sang Moon Bae. However, when Bae was forced to return to his home country in 2015 to join the army, Minister was left without a job in the PGA.
Here’s what you need to know about Patrick Cantlay’s caddie, Mike Minister:
1. Matt is Married with Two Sons
When Minister is not on the PGA Tour, he’s at home in Jupiter, Florida with his wife and two sons. “I have a family and I miss them very much when I am on the road, no matter how much fun it looks like I am having,” Minister said. His hobbies include going to concerts, watching other sports, especially baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals, and going out to eat at his favorite local restaurant, Captain Charlie’s Reef Grill.
“I love being out there, but I love being home,” Minister said. “Your pro plays well and you make a nice check and it’s the best of both worlds. After a few months, my wife will be ready for me to get out of the house. To get your blood pumping and feel the excitement in the air, I don’t know anywhere else that you’ll get that feeling.”
2. Cantlay was Unranked When Minister Became His Caddie
In Cantlay’s first tournament after a back injury nearly derailed his entire career, was at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February 2017, and Minister was his caddie. Cantlay had tragically lost his long time caddie and best friend, Chris Roth, to a freak car accident the year prior when Minister came in to serve as his replacement. At the time, Cantlay was unranked, and it was the golfer’s first PGA Tour in almost four years.
When Cantlay was asked if Roth would still be his caddie if had lived was a question the golfer didn’t want to answer. “Potentially,” Cantlay said. “Who knows, he may have evolved past me. A lot can happen in a year.”
The 27-year-old golfer viewed coming back from his injury and dealing with Roth’s death as unrelated issues to grieve. Cantlay said. “It’s been a struggle just to get back and play golf pain-free. But the Chris thing is totally separate. That would be difficult whether I was playing or not playing, and it would be just as difficult both ways and just as life-changing and just as earth-shattering. Just something like that changes your life and puts you on a different trajectory than you ever thought you’d get on. And it definitely changes your perspective on things.”
3. Minister is a Conservative Republican
Scrolling through Minister’s Twitter feed, it’s clear that the caddie leans to the political right. However, he keeps his views even keeled, and refrains from ever trashing the Democratic party. He’s even written of his positive experience of hearing President Clinton speak while in college.
4. Minister Lost His Job After Sang Moon Bae Left for the Military
In 2015, Minister went on the Kip Henley Show podcast and spoke about how tough it was when golfer Sang Moon Bae had to leave the PGA to go back to his home country and serve the South Korean military. Per South Korea’s law, every man needs to serve in the military for at least two years.
“There’s still a mandatory service,” Minister said. “He fought that. He tried to defer to it a later date, but the government ruled that he needed to come home and start serving. He made it on the tour championship, had arguably one of his best years a pro, made it on President’s Cup team as a pick. But he’s going to start serving in a couple weeks, [and] going off tour for a couple years, which is really tough. The kid is 29-year-old. He’s at the peak of his career. Hopefully, he can keep his game fresh and come back in a couple years and act like he didn’t miss a beat. But it’s really hard to do.”
5. Minister was a Golfer Before Becoming a Caddie
While Minister continued to play golf while attending college at the Ohio State University, he competed at the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield. Minister said one of his best memories he had as a player was afterward, “going out and playing North Berwick with three great friends that Sunday evening. Amazing day of golf!” His favorite course to play on is Augusta National GC.
As a caddie, the people Minister meets while on tour is part of the reason he loves his job so much. “The friendships I have created. [I’ve] Met so many people that I still remain in touch with today. Caddies, players, volunteers and pro-am partners.”