"It would have been nice to get a phone call from the [Wie] family, saying this is what we're thinking of doing," Inkster told me after she took the first-round lead at the Women's British Open last week with a 66. "I'd had Greg for 11 years. It's not like I was some rookie.Wow, nine caddies, plus Johnson makes 10. Only two more to catch Spinal Tap's rumored dozen!
"But that's not the way they [the Wies] do things. Instead they gave him a take-it-or-leave-it in the middle of my season, right before the Solheim Cup. I don't blame him. He's got kids to think about. But that didn't sit well."
Johnston was looking after his future, and there wasn't a caddie on the LPGA tour who wouldn't have done exactly the same thing. This despite the fact that the Wies had already gone through nine caddies between 2003 and '05, when Michelle was an amateur, and that "every time she misses a green, it's the caddie's fault -- except when Dad's on the bag," as one experienced caddie told me at last year's Women's British.
Here's the part about where Johnston lost his gig.
I was outside the scorer's trailer at Royal Lytham and St. Anne's last week when Wie got word that she'd been penalized two strokes for grounding her club in a sand trap during the second round. She had accidentally brushed away a clump of moss that was resting behind her ball during her backswing, a transgression that TV cameras clearly showed.
Johnston had told her she couldn't move the impediment, but Wie's parents, father B.J. and mother Bo, were visibly angry as they pulled their 16-year-old daughter aside to get her version of what had happened.
It was a tense scene. Wie's two bodyguards, dressed in Nike golf shirts, were rude and aggressive while keeping photographers and TV cameramen from filming the meeting -- never mind that it was taking place in a mixed zone where interviews routinely were conducted. Michelle was near tears. She hadn't known the rule. She thought if she just continued her swing, there was no violation.
Johnston should have known then and there that his days were numbered.