To those unfamiliar with the sport of golf, the caddy (or caddie) is sometimes regarded as a lowly creature, dutifully carrying his master’s bags and doing the donkey work while the golfer himself or herself basks in the glory of the success which comes with victory out on the golf course.
And is true, of course, that as in any sport golf is about those who play, and win tournaments.
A golf caddy is indeed there to help the player by whom he or she is employed. That is what a caddy in golf does.
But there is much more to the role played by caddies, and pro golfers, in particular, require the services of a professional golf caddy who understands their needs and requirements.
The History of the Golf Caddy
The first reliable record of caddies having been used in golfing is from Edinburgh, Scotland in 1817. It is however believed that the first use of a caddie was by the Duke of Albany in 1681, also in Scotland, while playing an international contest at Leith Links.
For the 150 or so years that followed, caddying came to be associated purely with that particular club, although their use later became increasingly commonplace amongst the most prestigious and elite golf clubs.
At this time caddies were generally provided by the host club rather than by the golfers themselves.
It wasn’t until the second half of the twentieth century that golfers, by now much more highly paid, came to realize the benefits of having a personal caddy who was known to and familiar with the player.
What Does a Golf Caddy Do?
At its most basic, caddies are charged with the responsibility of carrying their player’s bags about the course, keeping their clubs clean and in the best condition and organizing their equipment and other belongings.
They might also keep an eye on the condition of the course, removing any obstacles and advising on putting distances and suchlike.
It is this latter function that reveals the true importance of a good caddy to any professional golfer.
Because additional to acting as a porter and bag carrier he or she is also the eyes and ears of their player, replacing divots and raking bunkers as well as keeping tabs on events around the golf course and, occasionally, fending off over-enthusiastic supporters who might inadvertently encroach upon the game.
It is not just about being a bag-man (or woman), a good caddy also brings insight, inspiration and logistical assistance.
There is also a psychological role played by caddies. Helping with everyday tasks and just being around helps the player to relax and to concentrate.
One of the many understated roles of the golf caddy is to help maintain the player’s morale and focus, which ultimately can make the difference between success and failure.
For reasons of both personal loyalty and self-interest, the caddy is deeply invested in the success of the player.
How Much Does a Caddy in Golf Earn?
It is because of their importance to professional golfers that caddies, whilst obviously not in the same financial league as the players themselves, are often well remunerated for their services.
Usually, for PGA tour caddies a base salary will be supplemented with a percentage share of any winnings achieved by the golfer.
In the event of a golfer winning a tournament, the caddy may take as much as ten percent of that player’s earnings.
Typically this reduces to seven percent for a top ten performance, or five percent if the player misses the top placings.
A caddy can make between $1,500 and $2,500 per week during golf tournaments, according to Forbes.
For most caddies, pay will also include any travel or out-of-pocket expenses incurred whilst at work. This is important because in the first instance it will be the caddies who incur their own expenses in preparation for a game.
A caddy in golf is part of a team, serving as partner, trainer, advisor and confidant to their player who is thereby left to concentrate on the task ahead, which is winning the tournament.
When a player wins, their assistant benefits financially. Theirs is very much a mutually advantageous relationship.
Good caddies are a priceless resource and a much sought-after commodity.
Richest Golf Caddies in 2020
According to data from the PGA tour in 2020, the following caddies were the highest paid on the circuit in that year, the last year for which we presently have information:
Caddying for US golfer and former world number one Justin Thomas, Johnson netted over half a million dollars in that one year alone making him officially the biggest earner amongst his kind.
Nevertheless, they parted ways following that tournament, Johnson saying that we wished to pursue new interests.
He was replaced by English-born American Jim “Bones” Mackay.
Having carried clubs for fellow American Ryan Moore, Jakovac teamed up with Collin Marikawa who went on to win the PGA Championship.
The following year Marikawa won the Open Championship on Jakovac’s 39th birthday, directing the crowd in an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday to You”.
Jakovac earned nearly $483,000 dollars in 2020.
Caddy for Dustin Johnson, one of the best golfers in the game, won the Masters in November 2020 with his younger brother at his side. Consequently, Austin Johnson found himself among the ranks of top caddies boasting six-figure salaries.
In his case, his earnings in 2020 amounted to $472,600.
Served Webb Simpson in 2020, when the latter re-entered the world’s top ten after winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Tesori took home not very far short of $420,000.
Simpson believes theirs is a partnership brought together by God.
Jon Rahm was the golfer employing this top-rank caddy, only the second Spaniard (after the legendary Seve Ballesteros) to be rated the number one golfer in the world.
In 2020, with Adam Hayes at his side, Rahm won the Memorial Tournament and the BMW Championship.
Hayes stepped out of that memorable year with a cool $375,000 in his pocket.
Provided caddying services for Bryson DeChambeau, known as “The Scientist” for his analytical approach to his sport.
He won the US Open in 2020 and Tucker went home with around $350,000.
Was sidesman for American pro golfer Patrick Reed on the 2020 PGA tour when the latter won the WGC-Mexico Championship, propelling him into the elite league of PGA caddies pay with $346,500.
Caddy on the PGA tour card for Daniel Berger, a top US golfer whose father Jay had been a world-ranked tennis pro.
When Berger (junior) won the Charles Schwab Challenge he received a check for $1.375 million.
As his caddy, Cassell had to settle for $343,000.
Like most PGA tour caddies, the 2020 tournament ensured him a hefty yearly payout.
Working for Australian Marc Leishman, who won the Farmers Insurance Open, Kelly banked $330,000 in 2020.
Professional caddy to Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, who triumphed in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA tour.
Hatton played in the 2021 Ryder Cup, representing Europe alongside many professional golfers from various countries.
Crane made $287,000 from assisting in his employer’s success in 2020 alone.
South Korean professional golfer Im Sung-jae won the Honda Classic in March 2020, earning Choi $278,000.
Other Top Earners
At the time of writing 2020 may be the most recent year in which the incomes of PGA caddies have been listed, but there are many others who have earned big from PGA tours.
One of the most well-known is Steve Williams, who has served many professional golfers, most recently Jason Day.
He has also been Tiger Woods’ caddy as well as having worked for Adam Scott and Peter Thomson.
New Zealander Steve Williams’ net worth is believed to be in the region of $20 million. He is also said to have been given up to ten vehicles which were won by Woods at tournaments.
It is worth remembering that the richest caddy, like the richest golfer, is not always the one who earned the most the previous year, but more often the one who has acquired the most during a long and fruitful career.
The wealthiest golfer of all time is Tiger Woods.
Even Rory McIlroy, one if the world’s top ten golfers in the earnings league, has yet to come anywhere close to emulating Tiger Woods’ financial success.
Caddie or Caddy?
Meanwhile, this remains the $64,000 question. According to the authoritative Grammarist, one is a golfer’s attendant whilst the other is a (primarily British) vehicle for holding tea.
But it isn’t quite that simple. Even the purists acknowledge that it is legitimate to use the word “caddy” to describe a golfer’s helper, and indeed both spellings are frequently employed, sometimes interchangeably.
In its golfing context the word, however spelled, derives from the French “cadet”, meaning a trainee.
Whichever the correct way to spell the word, the importance of the caddy (or caddie) to professional golfers cannot easily be overstated.
One of the best known is probably Steve Williams, whom Jason Day is the most recent of a long line of professional golfers whom he has worked for. He was Tiger Woods' caddy at one stage as well as having served Adam Scott. Steve Williams net worth is in the region of $20 million during his long career.Do caddies get 10 of winnings? ›
While these figures can be different based on negotiations, the most standard figure is that the caddie of a tournament's winner earns ten percent of what the golfer wins. That's a pretty good chunk of change, as the average value of a win on the PGA Tour during the 2021-22 season was just over $1.64 million.How much did Scheffler caddie get paid? ›
The Highest Paid Caddy in Golf: Ted Scott
The meteoric rise of Scheffler's performance has led to bonus earnings of over $800,000 for Scott, in addition to his $135,000 yearly salary.
Steve Williams has been on the bag for 14 major championship wins, more than any other caddie in the history of the game.What golfer is a billionaire? ›
What golfer is a billionaire? Tiger Woods is officially a billionaire, according to a new Forbes' estimate of the golf icon's net worth. He joins Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and NBA legend Michael Jordan as the only known billionaire athletes in the world.How many hours do caddies work? ›
Your workday can be a mere four hours (although you can also wait hours for work, or even go home empty-handed). But when there's work the pay is good, and in cash. Caddies usually make more than $100 for each 18-hole round, or ''loop. '' Most clubs set a flat caddying fee per round, but the real pay comes from tips.Do caddies pay their own expenses? ›
Professionals' caddies, just like the golfers for whom they work, are self-employed, independent contractors responsible for paying their own expenses.How much does Tiger Woods pay his caddy? ›
According to reports, Tiger Woods pays his caddie an annual salary of $2 million. This is a significant increase from the $1 million he paid his caddie in 2001.What does Jordan Spieth pay his caddy? ›
In 2015, the US Open winner, Jordan Spieth, made a cool $1.8 million in prize money. His caddie Michael Greller pocketed $180,000 for his performance at the tournament. Sure, he spent the US Open carrying Spieth's golf bag, but he was more than that to Spieth.How much does Phil Mickelsons caddy get? ›
During his time as Mickelson's caddie, Mackay earned roughly between $500,000 – $1 million per year and is often referred to by his nickname 'Bones' due to his lanky frame. 'Bones' has since teamed up with Justin Thomas and they have had big success together, winning the 2022 PGA Championship.
How much does Dustin Johnson's caddie make? Usually, the caddie gets a 10 per cent of the prize money won by the golfer.What caddy has won the most Masters? ›
Willie Lee "Pappy" Stokes (May 22, 1920 – July 9, 2006) was a professional golf caddie at the Augusta National Golf Club best known for his record of five Masters wins with four different champions and his induction into the Caddie Hall of Fame.Who is the oldest caddie on the PGA Tour? ›
Michael Thomas "Fluff" Cowan (born February 7, 1948) is a professional golf caddie on the PGA Tour.Who was Tiger Woods main caddy? ›
Prior to hiring LaCava, Woods spent 13 years with New Zealand's Steve Williams on his bag. The pair become one of the most iconic player/caddie duos, with Williams often acting as a bodyguard as well as carrying the bag. He was on the scene for the majority of Woods' major victories.Who owns most golf? ›
Troon Golf is the leading company with more than 630 golf courses in their portfolio.Who is richer Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson? ›
Tiger Woods is by far the richest golfer in the world with more than 1$ billion in earnings in his career. He is over $400 million ahead of Phil Mickelson.What kind of yacht does Tiger Woods have? ›
The Bottom Line. Tiger Woods' yacht called Privacy cost him around $20 million back in 2004. It's a 155-foot vessel with room for 10 passengers and 9 crew including an interior VIP stateroom.What is the richest purse in golf? ›
- The Players Championship has the biggest purse of the season ($25 million).
- The winner's share for that event is $4.5 million.
Tiger Woods is officially a billionaire, according to a new Forbes' estimate of the golf icon's net worth. He joins Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and NBA legend Michael Jordan as the only known billionaire athletes in the world.Who made most money in a year in golf? ›
They are paid a fee for their work, but a large percentage of their income comes from tips. Both the fees and tips given directly to the caddy should be reported as income, whether the caddy is an independent contractor or an employee. The caddies should, therefore, file taxes on this income.What are caddies not allowed to do? ›
Actions not allowed: Standing on the line of play when a player takes their stance and makes a stroke. Replace a ball, unless the caddie had lifted or moved the ball. Drop or place a ball in a relief area.Do caddies get bonuses? ›
Pro Golf Caddie Salaries
The real payout comes when the pro does well in the tournament. Pro caddies typically receive a bonus of 8 percent of the pro's winnings if he places in the top 10, and 10 percent if he's the top finisher.
Caddies will be paid, through the caddie association, to have a logo on items associated with their trade, like a hat, bag strap, towel, even yardage books.How much does a caddie at Pebble Beach make? ›
Average Caddiemaster Caddie weekly pay in Pebble Beach is approximately $680, which is 9% above the national average. Salary information comes from 17 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.Who pays for golfers travel? ›
However, besides this, the real question is whether golfers have to pay for their accommodation and their travel expenses during the PGA Tour? The answer is yes. All golfers have to pay for all expenses incurred.How many pro golfers smoke cigarettes? ›
While 20% of the players may smoke, 75% of the caddies do. One thing that it actually does help with is getting the wind direction.” Players are allowed to smoke on the course and the only thing the PGA ask is that they show discretion.Do pro golfers get paid if they miss the cut? ›
The only professional events where professionals get paid for missing the cuts are in majors. For example, golfers who missed the cut at the 2022 Masters Championship still walked away with $10,000. However, in regular Tour events, a missed cut equals 2 days of free labor.How much money does the caddy of the winner of the Masters get? ›
Most Money Made By a Caddie During the Masters
This is the most amount of prize money ever at the tournament. With this in mind, the winning caddie received $207,000 for their efforts in addition to the weekly salary they agreed upon with their golfer. As a result, a caddie can make around $210,000 during the Masters.
So what is typically customary tip on top of the fee? For a forecaddie, about $20 to $25 per player. For a caddie toting just your bag -- around $40 to $50 -- a little less for a double bag because the other player should be tipping said caddie, too.
Jordan Spieth and Michael Greller have never been afraid to call each other out. Their back and forth is part of what makes their player-caddie relationship so great, and so long-lasting.Did Phil owe Bones money? ›
'Bones actually fired Phil. He was owed $900,000' “After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship,” Phil Mickelson said in a press release sent out by his management team. “Our decision is not based on a single incident.Is Callaway dropping Phil? ›
Phil Mickelson's spectacular downfall is complete after major sponsors Callaway and Workday drop the six-time major champion after his involvement with the Saudi-backed Super Golf League and 'scary mother******s' outburst.Why did Bones quit caddying for Phil? ›
Another fascinating tidbit of information Shipnuck offers is the reasoning for Phil's split with his longtime caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay in 2017. The author states that disputes over hundreds of thousands of dollars that Mickelson owed Mackay were at the heart of the separation.How much was Dustin Johnson paid to join Liv golf? ›
At the start of June 2022, it was announced that he would be in the field for the inaugural Saudi-backed LIV event at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire. DJ then resigned from the PGA Tour on June 7th. It was reported by The Telegraph that Dustin Johnson's sign on fee was somewhere in the region of $125 million.How much did Dustin get from Liv golf? ›
All of that equals $35.6 million for Johnson, including the $18 million bonus for winning the season-long individual title.Who was the youngest caddie? ›
Stokes was the youngest caddie to ever be "on the bag" for a win at the Masters at age 17 during the 1938 tournament with Henry Picard.Who is the oldest person to win the golf Masters? ›
Jack Nicklaus holds the record for the most Masters victories, winning the tournament six times during his career. Nicklaus is also the oldest winner of the Masters: he was 46 years 82 days old when he won in 1986.What is the lowest score in PGA history? ›
Cameron Smith produced a new PGA 72-hole record low score of 34-under to clinch the Tournament of Champions and beat world No 1 Jon Rahm by a single shot.
Sam Snead is the oldest to win a PGA event, at age 52, in 1965. Others who have won PGA Tour events past age 50 include Jim Barnes, John Barnum, and Art Wall Jr. The list is complete as of October 23, 2022.Who is the youngest person to join the PGA? ›
|U.S. Open||CUT: 2006|
|The Open Championship||DNP|
Many players on the PGA Champions Tour have done it, but they are the best senior players in the world. The story goes that Sam Snead did it almost every time he teed it up for a casual round once he reached 75 years old.Who is the most famous caddy? ›
Inducted in 2014. Steve Williams has been on the bag for 14 major championship wins, more than any other caddie in the history of the game. At the age of ten, he began caddying at his home cib in New Zealand, spending his summers and weekends there learning the game.Why did Tiger Woods fire his caddy Steve Williams? ›
Notably, he once threw a spectator's camera into the pond for taking pictures of Woods during a backswing. Despite their seemingly fruitful relationship, Woods fired Williams in 2011 after their relationship soured following Woods' cheating scandal came to light.Are Tiger and Steve still friends? ›
“I think he got as much out of it as I did,” he said. “I think enough time has passed now that he's just absolutely enamored with Tiger, he still loves him like a friend and just absolutely respects his work ethic and what he's achieved in the game of golf.What does Phil Mickelson pay his caddy? ›
How much does Phil Mickelson pay his caddy? From the above statement, it can be deduced that after the 2021 PGA Championship, Tim Mickelson took home $216,000 since Phil won a massive amount of $2.16 million. Based on Collins's comment, the weekly salary of caddies can range between $1500 to $3000 a week.Does Phil owe Bones money? ›
'Bones actually fired Phil. He was owed $900,000' “After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship,” Phil Mickelson said in a press release sent out by his management team. “Our decision is not based on a single incident.What caddie has won the most Masters? ›
Willie Lee "Pappy" Stokes (May 22, 1920 – July 9, 2006) was a professional golf caddie at the Augusta National Golf Club best known for his record of five Masters wins with four different champions and his induction into the Caddie Hall of Fame.Do caddies get paid by sponsors? ›
Caddies can make money off sponsorships — one of the most common is the hat they wear.
Phil Mickelson was estimated to be worth $800 million in total income before his LIV Golf deal. Rumored to be worth $20 million, this would make him a billionaire. The same source estimates a net worth of $300 million post the LIV deal.How much did Phil Mickelson get from LIV Golf? ›
But he came back as probably, the biggest early signing of LIV Golf. The Saudis (backers of the breakaway circuit) had clearly forgiven him. Reports and estimates speculate that Mickelson received a signing fee of an astonishing $200 million from LIV Golf.How much is the LIV Golf paying Phil Mickelson? ›
Phil has been voicing his support for the lucrative Tour even before its existence. This helped the 6 time Major winner in signing a deal worth $200 million with LIV Golf.Why did Phil dump bones? ›
"After 25 very rewarding and memorable years, Bones and I have mutually decided to end our player-caddie relationship." the 47-year-old said. "Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it's the right time for a change." "My relationship and history with Bones far exceeds golf," he added.How much is LIV paying Greg Norman? ›
What did Greg Norman get from Liv? About $700-$800 million. That's how much LIV offered Woods to ditch the PGA Tour, Norman told Fox News in August.