All week long Michael Greller insisted that he had no inside information on Chambers Bay, despite working there in the summer of 2007, caddying for Justin Thomas there at the US Amateur in 2010, and getting married there in 2013.
But after Jordan Spieth won the US Open at Chambers Bay, he admitted that Greller played a key role.
“That was the best week he ever caddied.” he said.
Eight years ago Greller was a sixth-grade teacher at Narrows View Intermediate School. During the summer he signed up to be a caddie at the newly opened Chambers Bay, which is a seven-minute drive from the school. According to Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, he made between $US60 and $US100 per round. Greller mostly caddied for “out-of-town businessmen, retired doctors or construction-company managers” at the public-access course, the News Tribune reports. After winning the US Open, he said he couldn’t take much from his time as a caddie in 2007 because the guys he caddied for could never break 90.
From Greller (via ASAP Sports):
But, you know, ultimately as far as my local knowledge, it really wasn’t worth anything, I didn’t think, because Jordan’s Jordan. He’s one of the best players in the world, and I was just trying to stay out of his way. I’ve worked hard the last couple of weeks, but I haven’t been out here in five years. The course has changed. The guys that I’ve caddied for usually can’t break 90, or it’s myself playing and I can’t break 80. I throw out any — I’m sure he’s being nice, but it comes down to Jordan just being one of the best players in the world.
Greller parlayed that summer job into a few gigs caddying for amateur players, including the 2010 US Amateur at Chambers Bay. In 2013, he quit his teaching job to work full-time for Spieth, a teenager who was just turning pro at the time.
According to Golf Digest’s “undercover pro,” caddies are traditionally paid in a 5/7/10 bonus structure — 5% of the prize money for making the cut, 7% for finishing in the top-10, and 10% for winning the tournament. If Greller’s compensation structure is anywhere along those lines, his decision to work for Spieth is paying off big time. Spieth took home $US1.8 million at the US Open alone, which would traditionally yield a $US180,000 caddie bonus. Spieth is No. 1 on the PGA Tour money list this year with $US6 million in prize money, and no one else is particularly close.
Spieth raves about Greller. He said that he really helped him this week because, unlike at the Masters, he wasn’t playing perfectly:
“What a special place for Michael. He was married here. He shares arguably one of the best moments of his life here. I was able to add to that history that he has at Chambers Bay. That was probably the best work Michael has ever done this week to get me through. At Augusta I was on and making everything and striking the ball fantastic. He was the one that got me through this week when I wanted to get down when things weren’t going well.”
With Spieth just beginning what many expect to be a long reign of dominance, the 37-year-old Greller has one of the best jobs in sports.
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