Chico State alum JJ Jakovac reflects on his success as a caddy | New

CHICO, Calif. – Former Chico State JJ Jakovac has made a name for himself as a caddy for some of the best golfers in the world.

Jakovac has been working with 4th ranked Collin Morikawa since 2019. When he gets on the course, he says it brings him back to his days as a Wildcat.

“What I definitely like best is still being able to feel the same feeling as when I was playing in big tournaments,” Jakovac said. “I don’t have to hit the punches, but you’re still invested in the moment you’re out there with a chance to win.”

Jakovac knows all about big tournaments. He won two NCAA championships at Chico State and won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2004 as the best Division II collegiate player.

JJ Jakovac

“I always said if I played knowing what I know now, I would want a good player to caddy for me,” he said. “It helps to be in the moments and to have experienced the pressure and the big tournaments.”

After graduating, Jackovac tried to turn professional for a few years before turning to the caddy. He worked with Ryan Moore for over seven years. In 2019, Jakovac found himself looking for a new opportunity.

“I got some advice from Paul Tesori, who is Webb Simpson’s caddy, and I really respect him,” he explained. “He told me not to take any job that comes your way but to wait for what you think is a bag forever.”

Enter Collin Morikawa, a promising talent at the time. Jakovac asked a friend to put him in touch with Morikawa’s agent. That same day, they were talking on the phone.

JJ Jakovac and Collin Morikawa

“That was it,” he said. “I left the following week for US Open qualifying in Ohio. We qualified for the US Open when we first met. That summer he took off and got his card and six starts on tour.”

All of this success doesn’t come without a lot of hard work. Jakovac spends hours alone on a course before Morikawa trains.

“I’m going to walk it, get the distances on the fairways, draw the green outlines in my book, check the distances,” he said. “Day of, I’ll get the hole locator sheet to see where the holes are cut that day. Recognize where you want to attack from where you don’t want to miss.”

Jakovac was alongside Morikawa when he won two major tournaments: the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 Open Championship. The caddy’s favorite memory was right after that Open victory.

JJ Jakovac

“He told the crowd it was my birthday and 40,000 people sang happy birthday to me,” Jakovac beamed. “I told him afterwards, you spoiled me. You spoiled the rest of my birthdays for the rest of my life. It can’t be better than my life.”

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