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Weir on Johnny Walker; Caddies Cash In

Wonder what happened to Mike Weir last Friday when his score jumped from 66 on Thursday to 78? Apparently it was those test irons again, as he points out on a post on Mikeweir.com today:

“That was the highest I could have shot today. I hit the ball really close but didn’t convert enough,” he said after his final round. “For three days I’ve been hitting 15 or 16 greens but on Friday I just couldn’t find the putting surface and that put me under pressure. It was a good recovery. I thought if I got into double digits today I would have a chance and after making birdies at the eighth and ninth I had a chance at 10, then birdied 11 and guessed if I could make a couple more I would have a chance to win. I had the birdie chances but just couldn’t convert them.”

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There’s an intriguing story in the St. Petersburg Times about caddying on the tour. Nothing that many won’t have heard before, but it puts the whole concept together nicely and really brings out some of the key changes in the job, like the amount of cash caddies can now bring in:

A standard deal calls for the caddie to receive a weekly amount to cover expenses, say $1,000 to $1,500, plus 5 percent of the player’s earnings. A bunch of missed cuts, and therefore no paychecks, means the caddie is barely getting by. However, if his player makes $100,000, as someone will for finishing in the top 10 this week, the caddie stands to make at least $5,000.

In some cases, the deal calls for a 7 or 8 percent cut if a player finishes in the top 10 and 10 percent if he wins.

Imagine how well Steve Williams must be doing. He has been caddying for Tiger Woods since 1999. Last year, Woods made $9.9-million on the PGA Tour. Even at a straight 5 percent with no bonuses (Woods did win eight times) that would be nearly $500,000 for Williams.

The story is here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Apparently Williams makes a base salary and does not get the standard caddie fee. If you want a good caddie book read Blood, Sweat and Tee’s…A Rich Beem classic…

  • But there is only one caddy for Tiger…and everyone knew Williams hit a goldmine when Tiger picked him for his caddy.

    Being a caddy would seem like a great job but my guess is the pay for most does not make up for the constant travel, staying in mediocre hotels, the physical nature of the job, lack of job security / control over one’s schedule, etc…

    And how the pros treat the caddy is another matter…like most of the population, I am sure there is a wide discrepancy between genuinely pleasant guys who treat their caddy’s with respect and those that are jerks.

    However, I think the best caddy job in the world is to be the caddy for your son or daughter in a major tournament while they are still an amateur. Helping, watching, and participating in your son/daughter’s elite golfing experience would be a fabulous experience…

  • I imagine caddies like Bones and Stevie live a great life….

    There’s a joke floating around saying that Steve Williams is the highest paid pro-athlete in New Zealand….

  • I wish Canadians would not blindly support Mike Weir because he is at best a 3rd tier golf pro who got lucky and backed into the Masters as well as most of his other wins. If he spent as much time and energy practicing as he does marketing his questionable talents in Canada, maybe he could be competative.

  • Willy:

    Why the Weir bashing? Do you really think Mike W. is a 3rd tier golf pro? Surely, you jest. Mike is having some struggles currently. However, a golf pro colleague of mine who has caddied for Mike has said he is one of the finest ball strikers he has seen.

    The premium on length in today’s game creates more obstacles for a player like Mike and his opportunity to shine going forward may be problematic but his performance as a Canadian golf professional has been outstanding. No if, ands, or buts.

  • I’m not Weir bashing, however, putting perfume on a pig does not change it from being a pig. The 3rd tier comment is specifically aimed at the golf tournaments he enters where the best players play- makes it impossible for him to even contend. His only good rounds occur when his 54 hole score is no longer competative. Maybe he would do better playing against some of the lesser known – younger players. His lack of length is a great excuse but since other short hitters like Fred Funk can be competative, I wonder what the next excuse other than lack golf effort. Maybe his golf game requires the same level of effort as his winery

  • Interesting logic…

    Fred Funk’s all around rank is 100 (PGA 2007 through last week). Mike Weir’s rank is 47. Both have played the same number of events ytd (11). Hmmm, so who is more competitive?

    Clearly Mike is having his struggles vis-a-vis where he wants to be but being referred to as a 3rd tier golf pro seems a bit harsh.

  • The ranking you are referring to is the World Golf Ranking. The only stat in which Mike leads. Fred Funk plays 2 tours, out earning Mike almost 2 to 1 on the PGA tour and almost catching him on the Senior’s tour. The more difinitive measure is Fedex cup points- with Fred Fun being at # 65 and Mike Weir being at a dismal 107.

    I just think that Canadian’s in general want Mike Weir to do well, but I and others are more than a little troubled by the littiny of excuse for poor performance. A case in point the Canadian Open a couple of years ago when he choked and gave the tournament to Vejay Singh. Never once was he man enough to apologize to his fans. He should not take for granted blanket Canadian support for his exploits. He sure was quick enough in establishing Weir Golf and making a few bucks from his Caanadian fans.

  • Whoa, “man enough to apologize to his fans”?!? You’ve got to be kidding. He was beaten by Vijay Singh not some Hooters Tour player. I’m not a Mike Weir fan or basher, but I thank him for providing Canadians many reasons over the past few years to watch the Tour at all. No apologies ever needed here.

  • Apologize to his fans? For what? For not winning?

    I can see apologizing if he gave less than 100% or for conducting himself inappropriately….but he has done neither of these from what I can see.

    As for excuses, he had a neck injury a couple of years ago but did he blame his poor play on that? I do not recall any references until he was almost recovered from it.

    I am not a huge Weir booster but I do object to unfair criticism. Weir has done a lot for Canadian golf and been an inspiration to many representing that determination, hard work, and focus can produce remarkable results. He represents a good role model. I wish I could say that for all high profile sports athletes.

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