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Golf's highest-paid caddies

For pro golf's top bagmen, big paydays are a chip shot

Published: Aug 11, 2015 06:41:19 AM IST
Updated: Aug 10, 2015 12:58:18 PM IST
Golf's highest-paid caddies
Image: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images
Michael Greller (right), caddying for Jordan Spieth

The vast majority of professional caddies’ life savings amount to little more than a couple of spare quarters that double as ball markers. But, at the very top of the PGA Tour, a few are pocketing decent green for a job that’s a cross between a psychologist and a pack mule.

Take Michael Greller, who earned an estimated $180,000 for four days of caddying for 21-year-old US Open champ Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, in mid-June. That’s based on a typical commission structure of 10 percent of the purse if a caddy’s player wins the tournament and 8 percent for a top 10 finish. Details vary widely—there are no contracts between PGA Tour caddies and players, just verbal agreements—but for a finish outside the top 10, the man on the bag of a rank-and-file player probably gets about 5 percent; if his player misses the cut, the caddy makes nothing more than $2,000, which is quickly swallowed by travel expenses.

Still, Forbes estimates that 10 pro caddies pocketed north of $600,000 last year, led by Micah Fugitt caddying for FedEx Cup champ Billy Horschel. For 2015, Greller, like his boss, looks hard to beat: Spieth has won three tournaments, including the Masters and the US Open, and has finished in the top 10 at seven more, for total on-course winnings of $7.9 million.

 
Golf’s Ten Highest-Paid Caddies in 2014

1. Micah Fugitt

(caddies for Billy Horschel): $1.6 million

2. JP Fitzgerald
(Rory McIlroy): $1.5 million

3. Ted Scott
(Bubba Watson): $900,000

4. Gareth Lord
(Henrik Stenson): $725,000

5. Mark Fulcher
(Justin Rose): $720,000

6. Mike “Fluf” Cowan
(Jim Furyk): $700,000

7. Neil Wallace
(Sergio Garcia): $695,000

8. Andy Sanders
(Jimmy Walker): $680,000

9. Lance Bennett
(Matt Kuchar): $650,000

10. Craig Connelly
(Martin Kaymer): $625,000

(This story appears in the 21 August, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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