Every golfer has a caddie experience. I like to believe that most of us found our true love for golf while caddying over the summer at a local club. For others, it might have been a memorable round of golf that a quality caddie made special, whether it was giving the perfect piece of advice on a blind shot or giving an unexpected read that helped sink that winning putt.
But no matter how much of an impact that a caddie’s had on your golfing life, you can imagine that it’s completely overshadowed by how invaluable a quality caddie is to a PGA TOUR player. Because the truth of the matter is when the TOUR pro’s are walking the course on a Sunday, their faithful looper is the only one keeping them company.
And despite putting up with bad food, shoddy shelters, and being treated like second class citizens at events, caddie’s have finally gotten something they’ve wanted for the past few years: healthcare coverage.
You see, caddie’s are independent contractors employed by the player, who often pay them between 5-10% of their winnings. So while that might not be a big deal if you’re Brooks Koepka’s caddie (especially after the year he just had), it was estimated that 70% of caddies don’t make enough money to contribute to their retirement savings. Further, Caddie Kenny Harms, who is a board member for the Association of Professional Tour Caddies (“APTC”), stated that he estimates “50% of the guys don’t have health insurance.” Indeed, the APTC estimates that some caddies were even paying upwards of almost $25,000 in health insurance costs.
Abraham Ancer of Mexico and his caddie waits on the 2nd hole during the final round of the CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur on October 14, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
So in an attempt to help offset those costs, the loopers started pursuing sponsorships for their bibs, shirt sleeves, and hats. However, the PGA TOUR stepped in and decided that caddies were not allowed to monetize their on-course apparel.
Fortunately, between a lawsuit being filed against the PGA TOUR in 2015 and the appointment of Jay Monahan as PGA TOUR Commissioner in January 2017, the organization finally announced that it will be establishing a healthcare program as early as January 2019 for all PGA TOUR caddies to help caddies and their families pay for healthcare coverage.
Naturally, this is a huge win for some of the hardest working and under-appreciated people on the Tour.
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