- Michael Greller was a middle school maths teacher making $US55,000 a year before becoming Jordan Spieth’s caddie.
- Since taking over Spieth’s bag, Greller has made an estimated $US5 million, between his cut of Spieth’s winnings and likely lucrative endorsement deals.
- Of the 436 golfers who have made money on the PGA Tour since Spieth turned pro, Greller has made more money than roughly 330 of them.
- Greller will be carrying Spieth’s bag again at the Masters this weekend, as the pair aim to take their share of the $US11 million purse offered at Augusta National.
When the best golfers in the world descend on Augusta National for the 2018 Masters, they will be competing for their share of the $US11 million purse, with the winner taking home nearly two million alone.
And while the athletes on the course are competing for the biggest stakes when it comes to that prize money, their caddies – who typically are paid up to 10% of their golfer’s earnings – also have quite a payday ahead of them should their player finish near the top of the leaderboard.
No one knows this quite like Michael Greller, who has earned an estimated $US5 million since he gave up teaching to carry the bag of then-teenage phenom Jordan Spieth in 2012.
Greller was a middle school maths teacher living in Washington with a passion for golf, even changing school districts so he could be closer to Chambers Bay and moonlight as a caddie. After carrying Justin Thomas’ bag at the 2010 U.S. Amateur, Thomas connected Greller with Spieth ahead of the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, which Spieth would go on to win. When Spieth later played in the 2012 U.S. Open, he asked Greller to be on his bag again, and the two have been together ever since.
The move from teaching to carrying Spieth’s bag full time has been a profitable one for Greller.
Caddies typically make 8% of a golfer’s earnings, or 10% if they win. With Spieth’s run of dominance over the past few years, Greller has made an estimated $US3.1 million off of his work on the PGA Tour alone.
Add in Greller’s percentage of Spieth’s winnings from the FedEx Cup and other non-PGA events like the Hero World Challenge, along with endorsement deals that are likely worth six-figures each year, according to Forbes, and the estimate for Greller’s earnings since making the jump from teaching becomes roughly $US5 million.
To put that in perspective: Since Spieth turned pro, 436 golfers have won money on the PGA Tour. Of those, Greller would rank ahead of roughly 330 regarding on-course winnings.
Greller has no doubt earned his keep as Spieth’s caddie, helping the young golfer through some of the toughest spots of his career. At the Open Championship in 2017 when Spieth’s drive went way off course, and he was forced to take relief in the driving range, Greller gave what legendary caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay would call arguably, “The most critical yardage ever given to a player in the history of golf.” Greller estimated two distances for Spieth and helped him aim his shot, which Spieth hit amazingly to save a bogey on the hole and win the tournament. Bones claimed it was “One of the most amazing things a caddie has ever done.”
This weekend at Augusta, Greller will once again look to put Spieth in the best position to win and help both of them add to their career earnings in the process.
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