Notes Caddie Controversy Over FedEx Payout

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- The FedExCup 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 FedExCup 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 FedExCup 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 retirement contributions based on cuts made, so about $17 million of the FedExCup money comes from that program.
 
Caddies will get paid regardless, because each of the four tournaments through the end of the FedExCup 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.'
 
MAJOR CUTS:
Robert Allenby shot 82-80 on the weekend at Firestone, not the best way to head into the final major of the year.
 
Especially with his record in the majors.
 
Allenby is among five players at Southern Hills who have missed the cut in all three majors this year. The others are former British Open champion Todd Hamilton, Colin Montgomerie, Joe Durant and Johan Edfors.
 
Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world ranking, lead the 13 players who have made the cut in all three majors. Their scores reflect how difficult the majors have played this year, as Woods has the highest scoring average in the majors despite being a cumulative 7 over par. And this from a guy who was second at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open and 12th at the British Open.
 
Furyk is at 12 over par after finishing 13th, second and 12th in the majors.
 
The other players who have made the cut in every major: Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Mike Weir, Zach Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Vijay Singh, Ian Poulter, Niclas Fasth, Scott Verplank, Lee Westwood and Carl Pettersson.
 
Eight of them have yet to finish at par or better in a major.
 
PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:
One of the intriguing aspects of the Presidents Cup is that the captains fill in the players one game at a time, instead of blind draw, meaning they can orchestrate matches. That led to Tiger Woods playing Ernie Els in South Africa, and Fred Couples playing Vijay Singh in 2005.
 
The most famous incident came in Australia in 1998, when Greg Norman told captain Peter Thomson he did not want to play Woods because the Shark was not at full strength, and Woods told captain Jack Nicklaus that he wanted Norman.
 
'There was two pairing left, and Peter Thomson was picking first. So Norman was had,' Nicklaus said recently. 'And Norman said, 'Why did you do that to me?' I said, 'Hey, you're not my team. You're a friend of mine, but that's beside the point. Tiger had requested, if I can, to get you for him. Have a good day.''
 
Once the laughter subsided, International captain Gary Player came up with a brilliant idea.
 
'Now I might have to do the same thing with Rory Sabbatini and Tiger,' he said at a media day in Montreal.
 
That might be the most compelling match of the Sept. 27-30 event. Sabbatini has been needling Woods all year, saying he looked 'more beatable than ever' after Woods had beaten him at the Wachovia Championship. Woods beat him again last week at Firestone.
 
Asked what he would make of such a presidential pairing, Sabbatini welcomed the idea.
 
'You either take down the best player,' he said, 'or you sacrifice yourself for the rest of the team.'
 
DIVOTS:
There were 71 rounds in the 80s during the Women's British Open at St. Andrews, most of them during the third round with winds topping 30 mph. ... Annika Sorenstam hosts a tournament for the second time this year, this time on the Ladies European Tour at the Scandinavian TPC. ... No one has ever won the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship on the same golf course. For the third straight year, someone will have that opportunity -- Retief Goosen (Southern Hills), Davis Love III (Winged Foot) and Lee Janzen (Baltusrol).
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Annika Sorenstam failed to record a top 10 in the majors for the first time since her rookie season in 1994.
 
FINAL WORD:
'If you don't know what to say, it's easy to say something derogatory.' -- Stewart Cink, on criticism of the FedExCup.
 
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