According to Leon Maben, a long-time Augusta National friend, Jariah Beard, a longtime caddie for Fuzzy Zoeller, has died. Beard was 82.
Zoeller is still the Masters’ most recent winner. Only Horton Smith, in 1934, and Gene Sarazen, in 1935 were the other rookie winners. Zoeller gave Beard the keys for dictating yardage, clubbing, and reading greens.
In a telephone interview with Golfweek, Zoeller stated that “He called all of the shots.” He led me around the course like a blind man. He would tell me the breaking of the putts before I got to the green. His presence was a great plus.”
Beard was born in Augusta in 1941. Beard was the Augusta National’s unofficial historian for decades.
Ward Clayton, author “Men on the Bag,” said that Beard could recall the names of caddies and their family members and could recite the impact caddies had on winning games. He followed the traditional route to Augusta National’s caddie yards: he was raised in Augusta’s Sand Hills, became an apprentice caddie at Augusta Country Club when he was eleven years old, and then graduated to Augusta National in a few years. After that, a steady job at the Masters for nearly 25 years, he played for a variety players.
Beard also caddied Bob Toski, Don January and others before Zoeller. Beard claimed that he caddied two years ago for Zoeller when contestants were required to use a local chapdie.
Zoeller said, “Jariah was an extremely special person not just to me but his family and so many others.” Zoeller learned Beard was in hospice. He reached out to Beard before his death to let him “how much we enjoyed our times together”.
Beard died from cancer just one month before the 2023 Masters.