SYLVANIA, Ohio – Brittany Lang was picking up her daughter Shay from LPGA daycare when she happened to mention that she was in need of a caddie this week. Ten-year-old Lily Diaz mentioned that her older brother was available.
Cooper Diaz, 14, caddied for mom, Laura, in last week’s LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness but was handing the job over to his dad, Kevin, for this week’s Marathon Classic.
Lang hired 14-year-old Cooper for the job after her husband went home to Texas.
“(Lily) is expecting a cut,” joked Laura. “She’s his agent.”
The LPGA has always felt like a family affair, but that’s even more the case in COVID-19 times when the only people on site are players, caddies, staff and a small band of family and friends. Each player is allowed two guests this week at Highlands Meadows Golf Club.
Lang, 34, gave birth to Shay in January and took a share of sixth at Inverness, her first event back. When asked if her performance exceeded expectations, Lang said, “I would say 1 million percent.”
Not only is working on the road with a baby a new thing, Lang is also competing on the LPGA for the first time without her brother by her side. Older brother Luke, 39, has been on Lang’s bag since she joined the tour in 2006.
Luke has retired from tour life, however, taking a job at Northwestern Mutual in Dallas. He married former pro golfer Kathleen Ekey in 2017 and the couple have a daughter, Taylor. Lang misses her big brother, who was always a force of positivity inside the ropes, but with that said, she also loves change.
“It kind of wakes you up,” she said. “I’m just excited for something different.”
Finding Luke’s replacement hasn’t been too easy. Husband Kevin filled in last week after her original caddied struggled to fly out due to a hurricane. She’s got Cooper this week and a few options for Scotland but has yet to figure out a consistent sidekick.
“If I don’t find a steady caddie soon,” said Lang, “I’m probably going to do my own thing because this is a beating, scrambling with all this COVID testing.”
And by her own thing, she means playing without a caddie. That’s now an option on the LPGA for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Cooper first caddied for his mom when he was in the fifth grade. Now a freshman in high school, the 6-foot-tall Cooper hopes to play for Ronald Reagan High School next spring near their home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Laura had a Zoom call tonight to get an update on the basketball program’s plans.
When asked which part of his mom’s game he wished he had, Cooper didn’t hesitate: short game.
“I wish I had his long game,” said Laura. “He’s got me by about 60 off the tee. I could afford to have some of that length.”
Laura, a two-time winner on the LPGA, hopes to get in the field at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship later this month. With her kids’ schooling being online this semester, it’s easier to take them on the road with her after the summer ends.
“I think it’s all about balance,” said Diaz of raising kids on the LPGA. “I think you have to feel fulfilled as a mom to come out and do your job.”