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Endorsement money for caddies

A group of golf caddies
Photo: Ben Jared/Getty Images

Starting this season on the European Tour, caddies — who are on camera almost as much as the players, if you think about it — will be able to earn money through endorsement deals.

Why it matters: Allowing caddies to be paid to have logos on items like their hats, bag straps and towels could significantly improve their financial stability, which is currently tied to player performance.

  • "As it stands now, a player pays the caddie a weekly fee, mostly to cover expenses, and a percentage of his earnings," notes NYT's Paul Sullivan.

What they're saying: "This is not for the guy who caddies for the seventh-ranked player in the world, since he does very nicely," Sean Russell, the chairman of the European Tour Caddies Association, told NYT. "This is for the guy who caddies for the 157th-ranked player."

  • "If you do the math, that caddie probably earned 12,000 euros (about $13,000) in bonus payments over the fixed fee for the week that covers expenses. If you're earning a 12,000-euro bonus you'd be better off stacking shelves."

The backdrop: Since 2014, Valspar has sponsored the PGA Tour's Caddie Hat Program, which allows caddies to earn money by wearing the paint company's logo on their hats. The European Tour's approach expands on that, freeing up caddies to promote more than just paint cans and wood stain.

The bottom line: If some portion of a golfer's sponsorship value is tied to his camera time and TV exposure, then the person standing next to him has value, too.

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