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Looping (Conclusion): Pro Caddie Pay and Caddie's Role as a 'Safe Harbor'

Discussion in 'Golf News' started by Dogfish Head, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. Dogfish Head

    Dogfish Head Well-Known Member TEA is my HERO

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    Embed from Getty Images
    Caddie Mark Fulcher with Justin Rose, back-to-back winner of the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open.

    Following is the final installment in John Coyne's caddie series. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.


    By John Coyne


    Copyright © John Coyne. Used with permission.


    THE ECONOMICS OF CADDIE PAY, as well as their lives on the PGA Tour, began to change in the mid 1990s with the arrival of Tiger Woods.


    Tiger brought to the game, as least on television, a viewing audience that didn't play, didn't even like golf in some cases, but wanted to see Tiger play. Golf viewership grew, as did television ads and revenues. And likewise: purses for the pros.


    All of this had a direct benefit for tour caddies.


    Today the majority of professional caddies earn a base weekly salary of between $1,500 and $2,500 and 7 to 10 percent of their player's winnings. If a caddie's player finishes in the top 10, that number could jump to 10 percent. These caddie contracts are all different and usually closed with a handshake.


    Caddies also earn additional money from their own endorsement and appearance deals. They must wear bibs with names and logos of the tournament sponsors, but they can display their own logos on their hats or shirtsleeves. Caddies for players outside the top 30 only earn between $5,000 to $10,000 for this, but the caddies for the top players, who get most TV time, they can command between $30,000 to $50,000 a year from sponsors.


    Then there is the FedEx Cup with its $35 million bonus structure, which means additional earnings for caddies. When the Cup was introduced in 2007, caddies did not have agreements for any sort of bonus. But an agreement was worked out by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (APTC), and today the winner shares 10 percent with his caddie.


    In 2013 when Henrik Stenson won the FedEx Cup, his caddie, Gareth Lord, bought himself a Ferrari after cashing his $1 million dollar share.


    While all of this appears to be a lot of money, and it is, there are other realities of life that factor into the careers of caddies. Very few caddies have a player who is continually among the top 10 place finishers week after week on tour and their pros are only on tour an average of 20 to 35 weeks a year. It's a short earning season.


    Caddies also are covering their own travel expenses, and increasingly with a majority of them having families back home, it is not an easy life. Bubba Watson, for one, is extolled in the caddie ranks as a tour pro who covers the travel expenses of his caddie, Ted Scott.


    Earning Their Keep


    That all said, are professional caddies worth the bother and effort? What do they bring to a player's game that a teenager—girl or boy—at the host club couldn't handle?


    Well, what the PGA Tour pro gets from a professional caddie is more than just someone to lug his bag. The professional caddie arrives on Monday and walks the course before the event, aided by an up-to-date yardage book such as former pro caddie George Lucas started creating in the 1950s.


    Today a dozen tour caddies produce books for every event as well as another book that maps the greens.


    But what the professional caddie brings to the tour player is much more important than yardage knowledge. In conversations with those on tour
    caddies, pros and administratorsthe key is the caddie's personality. While a tour player has a "team" behind him, a half dozen people from a swing coach to sports psychologist, the caddie is the only one out on fairway with him, measuring his mood, easing his temper, giving advice in a calming voice and all the while responding to his needs, from cleaning his ball to assessing putts.

    A caddie is the golfer's safe harbor. Tour pros know that. Their caddie is with him for just one reason, to bring him home a winner.


    John Coyne is a bestselling author who has written several books about golf. Learn more at John Coyne Books.

    [​IMG]

    Source: Looping (Conclusion): Pro Caddie Pay and Caddie's Role as a 'Safe Harbor'
     
  2. TheTrueReview

    TheTrueReview "Playing it straight" Supporting Member

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    An interesting and perhaps timely read.

    A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to caddie for a day at a local tournament.

    My Pro teaches at a nearby golf facility and in previous years had played on the Japan Tour.

    Anyhoo, I caddied for R2. Unfortunately he had hit +7 the previous day.

    But he had a good attitude, basically: “I have to go for it today and let’s have some fun.”

    It started off according to plan. He was -6 after 11 and flying. Unfortunately he had a couple of unfortunate outcomes after that which resulted in bogies.

    He had to keep going for birdies which made the margin of error low.

    A horrendous lie in a green side bunker on the 17th put things beyond doubt.

    Unfortunately there was no live scoring so we didn’t know how we were doing relative to the cut. We were shocked to see that the cut was +3. He said that if he’d known he would’ve shot for par in the closing holes and made the cut.

    Anyway, it was a great day and great experience. My Pro said he’d have me back anytime.

    ImageUploadedByShot Talk1510171793.822437. ImageUploadedByShot Talk1510171820.854684. ImageUploadedByShot Talk1510171838.506974.
     
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  3. IrishGolfer

    IrishGolfer Fac ut gaudeam Supporting Member

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    New career Brad? Good yarn.
     
  4. TheTrueReview

    TheTrueReview "Playing it straight" Supporting Member

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    I wish, Mark.
     
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  5. Fairwaysplitter3320

    Fairwaysplitter3320 Recovering Equipment Ho...off the wagon again. Staff Member Admin

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    That's awesome, sounds like you had fun!
     
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  6. TheTrueReview

    TheTrueReview "Playing it straight" Supporting Member

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    The Pro was great, FWS. He consulted with me on wind direction on each shot; sometimes on putts. He would explain his shot selection. It was a great experience.
     
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  7. Fairwaysplitter3320

    Fairwaysplitter3320 Recovering Equipment Ho...off the wagon again. Staff Member Admin

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    Very very cool!
     
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