Who Is Akshay Bhatia’s Caddie? Meet the Veteran Bagman of the 1X PGA Tour Champion

Published 01/07/2024, 12:00 PM EST

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Smart, Direct, and Experienced. That’s how Akshay Bhatia describes his caddie. Currently, the American Pro is heavily dependent on his bagman. That’s also for a very simple reason. Brian Dilley, Bhatia’s caddie, has been working as a bagman for the past twenty years. Interestingly, Akshay Bhatia is 21.

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Dilley likes to keep a low profile. Despite having plenty of experience on both the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour, the veteran looper is seemingly anonymous. It is not known when Bhatia and Dilley started working together. But here is what we do know about the experienced bagman on Bhatia’s side.

Who is Brian Dilley?

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The veteran bagman comes with almost two decades of caddying experience. Dilley is a good friend of Adam Hayes, who currently caddies for the defending Masters Champion, Jon Rahm. Bhatia said in the press conference that Hayes had a big influence on Dilley. Thanks to that, American International also got a chance to have a practice round with the Spaniard earlier.

Before turning caddie, Dilley tried his luck as a pro golfer. However, he had to accept that professional golfing was not his forte. “I was going to try to play professionally, but I didn’t have it in me,” Dilley said in a chat with Holland Sentinel a few years ago. So, Dilley picked up caddying, as that was the “next big thing.

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Previously, the experienced looper caddied for Aaron Wise, the 2018 Rookie of the Year. It was not clear when they started the collaboration. The veteran bagman has partnered with Billy Horschel for a brief period as well. The duo won the 2021 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play together in late March.

But Dilley’s most successful stint came on the LPGA Tour with Suzann Pettersen. They won five tournaments globally, including her second major victory at the 2013 Evian Championship. Eventually, Dilley and the Norwegian pro parted ways in 2014.

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After Pettersen, Brian Dilley also worked with three-time Solheim Cupper Gerina Piller for some time. The duo paired up in 2015. Throughout his long career, one thing has remained consistent: instilling confidence in the players and quickly understanding their style of play. Akshay Bhatia, too, said the same in a recent press conference.

Akshay Bhatia heaps praise on his caddie

Bhata hailed his experienced bagman during the media interaction at the Sentry. “He has caddied for 20 years, and I’m 21. So pretty much as long as I am alive.” How does having an experienced man on the bag help? Bhatia speaks of making fewer mistakes on the greens. Moreover, specifically on the Kapalua Plantation Course, Dilley has plenty of experience as a looper.

 

My caddie has been here plenty of times, and I’m relying on him,” Bhatia said in a post-third-round press conference. Currently sitting in the second position on the leaderboard, the 21-year-old is making his gameplan based on his caddie’s inputs. Dilley has been providing him with the necessary information, such as which holes to attack and where to be on the defensive.

“We have a nice game plan of what holes we need to play conservatively, what holes we can attack, and then what holes we can just kind of plod around.” Bhatia made seven birdies in his bogey-free third round at the first signature event of the calendar year.

The young golfer is on the cusp of perhaps the biggest moment of his pro career. Interestingly enough, another time, a few years ago, Bhatia reached a career milestone when his girlfriend was caddying.

When Akshay Bhatia’s girlfriend caddied for him

Bhatia had one of the biggest moments of his career with his girlfriend, Presleigh Schultz, by his side. And with ‘by his side’, we mean on his side carrying his bags, at the 2022 Bahamas Exuma Classic in the Korn Ferry Tour. The victory was a stepping stone toward his more prominent PGA Tour career. Bhatia became the third youngest golfer behind Sungjae Im and Jason Day to win a Korn Ferry Tournament by shooting 7-under-65 at the Sandals Emerald Bay.

 

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Interestingly, it all started with an Instagram DM, when Bhatia just casually texted her on the social media site. Akshay Bhatia was playing at the Valero Texas Open when he asked her now-fiance to be her caddy.

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Surprisingly, Schultz had zero knowledge or idea about Golf before dating Bhatia. Her brother played a little bit of golf, but that has been her only connection with the sport. That didn’t stop Bhatia from having her on the bag.

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It paid off well, considering the 19-year-old Bhatia, soon, debuted as a PGA Tour pro. The 21-year-old’s first victory came in last July at the Barracuda Championship. Bhatia is one shot behind solo leader Chris Kirk going to the final round in the Sentry.

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Written by:

Parnab Bhattacharya

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I, Parnab Bhattacharya, am a budding golf writer at EssentiallySports. I am keen on constantly exploring my deep-rooted love for golf through my long-time passion for writing. With a strong knack for storytelling and experience in SEO content writing, I bring a unique blend of fluent writing and technical expertise.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal

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