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Tiger Woods turns to LaCava as his full-time caddie

(Reuters) Tiger Woods has appointed Joe LaCava, once caddie for Fred Couples and most recently Dustin Johnson, as his full-time bagman, the former world number one said on Sunday.

Woods, who surprisingly parted company with his long-time caddie Steve Williams in July, will have LaCava on his bag for the first time at the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open in San Martin, California from October 6-9.

"(Woods's manager) Mark (Steinberg) and I were approached by a lot of people, including Joe, who expressed an interest in becoming my caddie," Woods said on his official website (http://web.tigerwoods.com).

"This was an important decision, and I wanted to think about it carefully. Out of deference for the FedExCup playoffs, I decided to wait until they were concluding to have substantive talks. We then spoke to Joe and came to an agreement.

"Joe is an outstanding caddie, and I have known him for many years. I've personally seen the great job he did for Freddie. I'm anxious for us to be working together."

LaCava began working with American Johnson in June and together they won the opening FedExCup playoff event, The Barclays, a month ago.

Their last event together was the elite Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta where Johnson tied for 23rd on Sunday.

"I'm excited to be working with Tiger," LaCava was quoted as saying on Woods's website. "Tiger and I have been friends for a very long time, and I know what he can do.

"I want to thank Dustin for the opportunity to work with him, and I wish him nothing but the best."

Woods, a 14-times major winner, has not competed on the PGA Tour since last month's PGA Championship in Atlanta where he missed the cut.

He failed to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs and has been a shadow of his former dominant self since the end of 2009 while trying to rebuild his golf swing and private life following the breakup of his marriage.

His world ranking has slipped to 50th and he has not won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Atlanta; Editing by Alastair Himmer; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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