By F. Edwin Miller
With the possibility to collect payoffs upwards of $1.7 million from three-day tournaments, players on the PGA Tour are widely known to rack in the big bucks; yet, ever wondered what type of money their caddies make? This post will review the jobs and earnings of some of professional golf’s leading loopers.
After winning the 2005 WGC-Cadillac tournament at Blue Monster Course in Doral, Florida, Tiger Woods didn’t give ex-caddie, Steve Williams, a tip for his services.
He gave Williams a $140,000 Ford GT for them.
(Drew Hallowell, Getty Images North America)
During his time with Woods in 2007, Williams gained $1.27 million. That sum made him the wealthiest caddie on the PGA Tour by a long shot. In fact, had Williams made the switch from caddie to golfer, he would have cracked the top 75 earnings for players on the tour that year. Though Williams worked his way into a rare scenario (he looped for a 14-time major winner) and the wages of other caddies typically fall into a much different arena, you shouldn’t feel too bad for them. Many, if not all of them, bring home enough to buy themselves their own $100,000 race cars.
In 2007 forbes.com reported that Geoff Oglivy’s long-time caddie, Allistair Matheson, assisted his way to $337,888 from June 2006 to June 2007. In the same time span, Tony Navarro, Adam Scott’s former caddie earned himself $442,548. Jim “Bones” MacKay who has long been an asset to 40-time tour winner, Phil Mickelson, collected $445,821 in 2007 as the third highest paid caddie. However, Vijay Singh’s looper, Chad Reynolds, topped MacKay’s earnings with a total of $508,136 placing second to Stevie Williams on the year.
Though caddies often appear as “bag holders” or “ball finders,” the preparation that goes into their craft cannot always been seen by onlookers.
A caddie’s earnings depend upon their golfer’s performance and the most effective caddies, like those listed above, play a large role in producing a successful outcome for their golfers. A proficient caddie provides insightful help and possesses a keen sense of a course’s difficulties and how to overcome them easily. A skilled caddie can knowledgeably assess greens, weather conditions, driving distance estimates, pin placement, and club choice. On top of all that, caddies must serve as backbones to their golfers, encouraging them to remain confident throughout play.
According to president of the Professional Caddies Association (PCA), Dennis Cone, caddies start with “a base salary of $1,000 a week plus 5% of the tournament purse [that a golfer enters].” Caddies can make 7% of purse profits when their golfer finishes in the top 10, and even earn up to 10% for assistance in a tournament win.
However, these rates do not apply to all caddies. Some earn 10 percent on all winnings by their golfer as opposed to a set annual salary according to golflink.com. Others accept high weekly salaries while taking no cut of a golfer’s purse earnings. In some cases, caddies even receive disability or health benefits for their service.
Yet, just to take Cone’s estimates into consideration, Steve “Pepsi” Hale, caddie for Keegan Bradley, pocketed $140,000 after Bradley’s $1.4 million WGC-Bridgestone win.
Does he prefer cash, check, or GT?
(Andy Lyons, Getty Images North America)