PGA Tour caddies earn every dollar they make. They do a little bit of everything for PGA Tour players. They carry the bag inside the ropes, sure. But they also provide distances, talk through shots and are a sounding board during tournament play. They get the player ready for the round. They get their player's equipment to and from transportation, the range and the locker rooms.
The good news for PGA Tour caddies is they have tremendous earning potential, particularly on the modern PGA Tour schedule with purses of $20 million spread throughout the season. Even working for a player that finishes near the bottom in these Signature events can be lucrative.
How much do PGA Tour caddies earn on the job?
PGA Tour players have unique relationships with their caddies. The player-caddie relationship determines how much the caddie is paid and for what. The PGA Tour does not regulate these agreements, as the players and caddies are considered independent contractors.
Generally speaking, PGA Tour caddies are paid a weekly minimum by their players in the range of $2,000-$3,000 per tournament. That money will typically cover expenses for the week, including travel, transportation and lodging.
Caddies then get paid based on how much their player earns in the tournament.
One of the most common arrangements is the 5/7/10 system. If their player makes the cut, the caddie will earn 5 percent of the tournament winnings. If their player finishes in the top 10 of the event, that pay gets bumped up to 7 percent of the tournament winnings. If their player wins the tournament outright, then they'll be paid 10 percent of the tournament winnings.
However, some caddies negotiate a flat percentage with their player across the board. Some caddies negotiate an annual salary instead of a weekly payment. Some caddies work out other compensation with their player.
While caddies have tremendous earning potential, they are typically on the hook for most, if not all, of their personal expenses like travel and accommodations. Those costs can rack up. Also the tax bill for being on the job can be brutal, as players and caddies have to pay state-by-state taxes for where they earn their money. So, while it may be an awesome job, it definitely does not come without a significant amount of stress.