Player and caddie breakups can be a sensitive subject.
So often it is about friendship, a bond that’s been built over time and not just about a game. It was no different when Beth Allen and long-time caddie, Sophie Gustafson, called it quits after the U.S. Women’s Open back in July.
“The decision was really difficult for me,” Allen told LPGA.com. “Soph and I had a great two years together including three wins and winning the Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit in 2016. I have never been more successful or more comfortable with anyone else on the bag, and I learned so much from her which I will forever be grateful for.”
Allen said she started to struggle after Hawaii. She made only one cut before arriving at the U.S. Women’s Open and, as many players would, she changed caddies in the midst of a bad streak.
“I thought a new start might help and Soph was supportive of that decision," said Allen.
Allen has worked with a couple of different caddies since the two parted ways back in July. She has worked mostly with friend Thad Kael and had some success. He helped her get back on her feet in Portland and Indy finishing T-29 and T-19 respectively. The two have been friends since Allen turned pro in 2005.
“He’s a fantastic caddie who genuinely loves what he does, and we have a lot of fun together,” said Allen.
Allen doesn’t have a long-term solution, though she didn’t rule out the possibility of re-hiring Gustafson.
“She is still very supportive of my golf and always there for me which is really special to me. I hope that we work together again at some point in the future,” said Allen.
Allen admits she couldn't pinpoint the one reason behind the struggle, but said she lost some confidence in her putting this year.
“The standard of golf is so high on the LPGA so when you are struggling like I was, it is so hard to make money, and I am not used to missing cuts, so I found it really hard mentally. Practicing on weekends watching leaderboards is literally the worst.”
Allen did have a couple of solid performances at the end of the season which gives her status for the 2018 LPGA Tour season. She decided to forgo the Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament because she believes she’ll still get into 12-15 events next year. She also hopes for a couple of sponsor invites to play in the Kia Classic, which is in her hometown, and The Australian Open, one of her favorite events.
“I really do want to play in Europe more in 2018 as Scotland is now my home and I think being away from my life there really contributed to some of my struggles in 2017,” said Allen.
Allen will finish her 2017 season on the Ladies European Tour at the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic in December. Dubai is not a bad place to end the year, but Allen admits she is ready for a fresh start in 2018. She plans to take advantage of the short off-season spending quality time with her loved ones in Scotland and California. Mix that with the right amount of rest, practice and getting some new equipment dialed in and it makes for a prosperous 2018.
“I am planning on starting my season in the Bahamas and going from there to Australia to play the LET event in Victoria,” said Allen. “As I mentioned before, I want to play both tours and just try to enjoy myself and play freely.”