Fanny Sunesson is the only female caddy to have won a major championship on the PGA Tour, and the only to be enshrined into the Caddy Hall of Fame.
Sunesson went where no woman had gone before. Exhibiting great determination, she muscled her way into the conservative, male-dominated clubhouse of the men’s game to become the most accomplished female caddy in history. Sunesson was devoted to meticulous pre-tournament preparation that allowed her to deliver precise information in a direct, frank manner. The combination allowed her to ascend to the pinnacle of her profession…
Originally from Sweden, Fanny began caddying at a young age. Best known as Nick Faldo’s caddy, she has also looped for Sergio Garcia, Fred Funk, Adam Scott, and Henrik Stenson. Her career spanned nearly three decades – 750 tournaments, 91 major championships, six Ryder Cups. Sunesson won four majors, a World Match Play title and a Players’ Championship.
I worked hard, but I’ve always done that. Maybe I had to work a little extra hard because I was a girl.
Sunesson grew up in the Baltic port town of Karlshamn in southernmost Sweden. Her parents were golf enthusiasts, and Fanny began playing at 15. A fine amateur who harbored dreams of playing professionally, Sunesson decided to help her own game by observing the pro game up close as a caddy on the European Tour. “I thought of it as a chance to see the world,” Fanny said of her decision to start caddying so young. “Maybe do it for a year and travel in Europe. It ended up being a bit longer than a year.”
In 1986, the ambitious 19-year-old showed up at the Scandinavian Open and waited in line hoping to land a bag. After a long day of waiting, Jaime Gonzalez hired her for the week. She was on Jose Rivero’s bag when he won the 1987 French Open, then landed Englishman Howard Clark. One of the top players on the European Tour, Clark qualified for the 1989 Ryder Cup and Sunesson made her first of six appearances in the biennial matches.
Sunesson’s career took a turn when she hooked on with Nick Faldo at the end of the 1989 season. Faldo had enjoyed success on the European Tour in the early 1980s but wanted to become a regular contender in major championships. He retooled his swing under David Leadbetter and claimed his first major title at the 1987 Open Championship at Muirfield. After losing in a playoff to Curtis Strange at the 1988 U.S. Open, Faldo captured his second major at the 1989 Masters.
Faldo had seen Fanny’s work with Clark at the ’89 Ryder Cup matches at The Belfry. Impressed with her knowledge and steely resolve, he hired her for the 1990 season. Known for his intense preparation, they were the perfect pair. “I think that we were a fantastic team,” Sunesson later said. “We worked so well together; it was almost like we were one person thinking.”
For 25 years, I didn’t give a wrong [yardage] number. I decided not to be a Yes Man. I had all the information that was essential so I was able to tell my player where to hit it. I was pretty meticulous.
It is testimony to Sunesson’s mental focus and attention to detail that she was able to mesh so perfectly with someone as demanding as Faldo. More than pulling clubs, measuring yardages and reading putts, she was encouraging. Fanny was fabulous at helping the uptight Englishman relax when the situation on the course became the most intense.
Fanny was on Faldo’s bag for two Masters wins. The first came at their Augusta National debut in 1990. “It was a fairytale, a dream for golfers,” recalled Susnesson. “The architecture and aura there – it was amazing to be there, and to caddy for the defending champion wasn’t bad either.” Six years later the pair won again when Sunesson guided Faldo to a 67 during Greg Norman’s infamous final-round collapse in 1996.
The serious-minded Swede was only 23 at the time of her first win at Augusta. Just three months later, she and Faldo added the Open Championship title at the home of golf, St. Andrews. The hyper-focused Sunesson was oblivious to her surroundings. “When we hit our tee shot on the 72nd hole, we knew we were going to win,” Fanny recalled. “I’m so grateful for what Nick did walking off the tee: he turned around to me and said ‘savor this moment!’.”
Sunesson usually needed five hours to properly walk a course and make her yardage book. Particularly tough holes might take an hour alone. One tournament in South Africa had no yardage books available to the caddies. After 11 hours on the course, Fanny had hers.
Fanny split with Faldo in 1999 and joined forces with Sergio Garcia. The partnership lasted just eight tournaments before the pair split up, perhaps in part due to the whiney Spaniard’s fragile mental disposition. After a stint with Fred Funk, she landed with fellow Swede Henrik Stenson. During their five years together, Fanny guided Stenson to a 2007 World Match Play title and 2009 Players’ Championship, boosting him to No. 5 in the world. In 2011, she served as Martin Kaymer’s mental coach during his ascent to world No. 1.
Fanny Sunesson, who cited the British Open victory at St. Andrews among her most prized accomplishments, retired in 2012 to coach and advise full time. She came out of retirement to caddie for Adam Scott at the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie and carried Henrik Stenson’s bag at the 2019 Masters. Sunesson was enshrined in the Caddy Hall of Fame in 2004. She remains the only female inductee.
Nick Faldo and Fanny Sunesson got married July 28, 2001 – though not to each other. Many miles apart, they wed separate partners. Sir Nick married his third wife, Valerie Bercher, in a lavish ceremony at his Windsor home. Meanwhile, Fanny tied the knot for the first time, marrying American Eric Rogers in her hometown of Karlshamn.
On this date in 1992, Fanny Sunesson caddied for Sir Nick Faldo in the opening round of the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis. The duo teamed to fire an opening round 68 and would go on to finish in a four-way tie for second, pocketing $101,250 for their four days of work. Nick Price finished three shots ahead of Faldo to capture the first of his three major championships.