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Looking For Lucre? Welcome To The Club No sport spreads the wealth around like golf. Players' wives are royally pampered, instructors and caddies get rich, and even physical therapists fly first-class

May 17, 2004
May 17, 2004

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May 17, 2004

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Looking For Lucre? Welcome To The Club No sport spreads the wealth around like golf. Players' wives are royally pampered, instructors and caddies get rich, and even physical therapists fly first-class

THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

This is an article from the May 17, 2004 issue

Competition to lure marquee players is fierce among the 38
full-field PGA Tour events, so Wachovia Championship director Kym
Hougham takes the approach that Las Vegas casinos take with high
rollers: Spare no expense. At the Wachovia, held last weekend at
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, each player had a silver
Mercedes-Benz S-300 or S-500 at his disposal and was entitled to
a police escort if stuck in traffic. Even caddies got valet
parking at the clubhouse. Players' wives were whisked by private
jet to lunch at the Biltmore Estate, the old Vanderbilt mansion
in Asheville, N.C., while the players were flown by helicopter to
Lowe's Motor Speedway to drive NASCAR cars. Meanwhile, the
tournament purse was $5.6 million, with $1 million for the
winner. "Players make so much money, but they love getting free
stuff," Hougham says. "We're already thinking of ways to improve
on this year."

THE HIGH-FINANCE TEACHER

Butch Harmon and David Leadbetter are famous for their even more
famous pupils, but Mitchell Spearman, director of instruction at
the Manhattan Woods Golf Club in West Nyack, N.Y., has made his
name by charging more than any other golf instructor. A private
three-hour lesson with him costs $1,800. Those 180 minutes are
"the equivalent to a three-day golf school with a group of six,"
says Spearman, 41. "My clients get what they pay for, and that is
good results." Spearman's clients have included Nick Faldo, Greg
Norman and Curtis Strange, but he mostly tutors Wall Street
tycoons. "Working with Mitchell is a long-term investment that
pays off," says Michael Greene, CEO of David J. Greene & Co., a
money management firm in New York City. "I was about a 3 when I
started going to him five years ago, and now I'm about a
scratch."

THE GOT-RICH-QUICK CADDIE

In 1991 Russ Cochran, who was then employing Fred Sanders, had
his best season on the PGA Tour, winning $684,851 to finish 10th
on the money list. Now Cochran is struggling and may end up
making less than his former caddie. Last year Sanders made
$650,000 bagging for Kenny Perry, who won three tournaments and
earned $4.4 million. "That's a running joke between Russ and me,"
says Sanders, 47. "He tells me I've got enough [earnings] to get
a Tour card." In 17 years on the Tour, Sanders has seen caddies
for the top Tour players go from bunking four to a room at Motel
6 to splurging on $20,000 Rolexes. With purses averaging nearly
$5 million and Sanders earning 14% for a win by Perry, it's no
wonder he raked in a quarter of a million in less than two weeks
when Perry won back-to-back events last summer. "I'm almost on
par with Stevie [Williams, Tiger Woods's caddie]," said Sanders,
who has since gone to work for newcomer Hank Kuehne. "The IRS is
going to be looking real close at me."

THE SPINE SAVIOR

For 10 years Tom Boers, a soft-spoken physical therapist from the
Netherlands, has quietly developed a lucrative niche caring for
the aching backs of PGA Tour golfers. Boers, 51, is in private
practice at the Human Performance and Rehabilitation center in
Columbus, Ga. He has treated Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and
Ernie Els. An avid golfer, Boers gets some special treatment of
his own when the majors roll around. He flies first-class to the
British Open to work on longtime client Fred Couples, among
others, and bunks in five-star splendor during the PGA
Championship thanks to players such as Davis Love III.
--Yi-Wyn Yen

COLOR PHOTO: JEFFREY LOWE MADE IN THE SHADE Caddie Sanders earns more on the bag than someof the players do on the course.