A PGA Tour caddie was talked out of retirement and now makes more than most pro golfers
- World's top golfer Scottie Scheffler set a record this year with more than $21 million in earnings.
- Based on typical pay, Scheffler's caddie has taken home at least $1.8 million and maybe a lot more.
The unsung winners of golf's new financial boom are the caddies, and nobody is winning more than Ted Scott.
Scott caddies for the No. 1 golfer in the world, Scott Scheffler, who won The Players Championship earlier this year and is now leading the FedEx Cup Playoffs after his second-place showing at this past week's BMW Championship. That outing earned Scheffler a cool $1.76 million, his second-biggest check of the year.
The payday pushed Scheffler's on-course earnings to more than $21 million for the season, a PGA Tour record. That also means that Scott has likely set the record for most earnings in a single season for a caddie at more than $1.8 million.
Scott's total would rank 83rd among PGA Tour golfers this year, with more in earnings than 160 tour pros.
Not bad for a looper who considered himself retired after splitting with Bubba Watson in 2021 after 15 years together. According to Golf Digest, Scott was prepared to launch a golf-lessons business but was talked out of it by Scheffler.
The timing couldn't have been better for Scott.
In early 2022, LIV Golf launched as a rival and threat to the PGA Tour, signing some of their best golfers to huge contracts. As a response, the PGA Tour announced massive changes, including larger payouts, especially for the top players. Eventually, the PGA Tour and LIV Golf merged, but the larger tournament purses remain, leading to Scheffler's record-setting season.
Thanks to the standard caddie contract, a percentage of Scheffler's earnings go to his caddie.
Former PGA Tour caddie and current ESPN analyst Michael Collins confirmed the widely accepted payscale for most pro caddies in 2021. According to Collins, the typical pay is on a 10-7-5 scale — 10% of the golfer's earnings for a win, 7% for a top-10 finish, and 5% for everything else.
In addition, most caddies earn a salary since they pay their own expenses getting from tournament to tournament.
"Every caddie gets a weekly paycheck, no matter where his player finishes," Collins said on ESPN. "If the player misses the cut, the caddie still has to get a paycheck because the caddie pays for all of his own expenses — airfare, hotel, car, food, all of it."
According to multiple reports, Scott's base salary is $135,000 per year since coming out of retirement.
That, plus his bonuses from Scheffler's 15 top-10 finishes and two wins this season, push his earnings to more than $1.8 million, based on the typical caddie scale. However, considering Scott had to be coaxed out of retirement and had a proven track record — including two wins at the Masters carrying Bubba Watson's bag — it is certainly possible that he negotiated a bigger compensation package when he partnered with Scheffler.
Either way, Scheffler and Scott are not done with the upcoming Tour Championship. While the tournament doesn't have an official purse and will not impact Scheffler's official on-course earnings, there is a "bonus" awarded based on how the players finish in the FedEx Cup rankings.
The winner of the championship gets $18 million. That would mean another $1.8 million for Scott.
Scott's golf-lessons business can wait.
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