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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    Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

    By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

    After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

    The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

    The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

    Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

    In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

    “It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

    The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

    Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

    “It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”

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    PGA Tour Latinoamerica moving season finale to Doral

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

    The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

    “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

    The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

    “We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

    The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

    A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

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    Im wins Web.com Player and Rookie of the Year awards

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

    Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Web.com Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

    Im won twice on the Web.com this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

    Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

    In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

    “My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

    In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

    Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.

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    Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 12:38 pm

    A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.

    Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."

    As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing Law.com, has the details:

    "The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com."

    "Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."

    Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners. 

    That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.