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FedExCup caddie payments under discussion

The FedEx Cup will pay $10 million to the winner from a $35 million prize fund, all of which goes into a retirement plan that players won't see for quite some time.

That leads to two questions: What kind of bonus does the caddie receive? And how is it paid?

Players typically share the spoils with their bagman, some as much as 10 percent when they win.

"It would be hard to pay on something you don't get," Scott Verplank said. "I guess you could sign a contract that says, 'My grandkids will pay you."'

Stewart Cink is on the PGA Tour policy board, and he was surprised that a FedEx Cup bonus for caddies only now has become a topic. Asked about it over the weekend, he said with a smile, "We're not going to talk about that."

"I had that discussion with my manager about how to do it, and I don't know to be honest," he said. "The FedEx Cup money ... half of it was money already in our retirement fund, and we didn't pay our caddies out of our retirement fund. Half of it is new money, but it's all deferred. Maybe I'll pay him 10 percent as it comes out of the account."

When does that happen? When does a golfer ever retire?

"I don't even know the answer to that," Cink said.

The new money was a reference to the prize fund. The PGA Tour has done away with an incentive plan in which money was disbursed quarterly depending on the number of tournaments played, so about $17 million of the FedEx Cup money comes from that program.

Caddies will get paid regardless, because each of the four tournaments through the end of the FedEx Cup has a separate purse, just like any other tournament.

Still, David Toms joined the long list of players who can't figure it out.

"I guess I'll pay him in 25 years when I get the money," he said. "Hopefully, we're both still alive."


August 8, 2007

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