DUBLIN, Ohio -- To shamelessly swipe a rather famous song lyric: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
In an interesting subplot during the first two days of the Memorial Tournament, Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson were placed in the same group, just weeks after Couples' longtime caddie went to work for the latter, younger star.
Veteran looper Joe LaCava has teamed with Couples for two decades, and when Johnson parted ways with his old caddie, Bobby Brown, LaCava was given the job at the Players Championship. Johnson said there was no tension in the first round Thursday -- quite the contrary.
Not that he or Couples are the high-strung dramatic type, anyway.
"It was fine," said Johnson, who shot 68 and is tied for fifth. "Freddie is a great guy. There's no hard feelings there. You know, we talked about it the other day. But everything is good, and I'm happy to have Joe working on the bag for me. I'm looking forward to having a few good weeks here coming up."
Couples has been playing sporadically of late on the senior tour because of injuries, and Johnson certainly presents more earnings potential.
"There's no bad blood or anything like that," Johnson said. "They were together for 21 years and are really close friends. Yeah, it was nice. We had a great time out there today."
Johnson, who used a couple of short-term stand-in caddies until hiring LaCava, gave his version on hos the pairing came to be.
"Well, obviously I was looking for a caddie, and Freddie was -- he's hurt, he's struggling with his back right now, so Joe came and caddied for me at the Players and he wanted a full time job, so I said yeah," Johnson said.
After years of working for a power player like Couples, it didn't take long for LaCava to grasp the nuances of Johnson's power game, apparently.
"He's got it dialed in already," Johnson said. "I don't think it, especially with good guys, it doesn't take very long to 'club' people."