It's in the nature of a caddie to help others. They stay out of the spotlight, behind the scenes helping their golfer navigate a round.
That mentality of helping is partly why Ian Finnis, caddie for PGA Tour player Tommy Fleetwood, decided it was time he helped others. Finnis is at the highest level of the profession, but has struggled himself in this business, so he started a GoFundMe page to help European Tour caddies who needed financial help during this shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic.
While it isn't known what Finnis makes on an annual basis, caddies typically get a flat rate then a percentage of winnings -- often between 5% and 10%. Fleetwood made $3,853,651 in 2019 on the PGA Tour and had made $855,920 so far in 2020. Finnis, then, is able to provide for his family now, but understands the struggle just starting in the business, or for a caddie who is not looping for one of the top players in the world.
"I had a young family and when I started caddying, we struggled for a couple months," Finnis said. "I thought, imagine not working with a family?"
The GoFundMe effort turned into a raffle with some pretty spectacular prizes that brought in a total of £36,675, which translates to approximately $46,145. That money, according to Finnis, will go to the European Tour Caddie Association, which will put it into a pool and split among caddies who need the money.
Finnis had no idea what to expect when he started the effort, but he figured any amount of money would help and he should do his part.
"The first raffle, I thought we'd get £10,000 and 1,000 tickets would take a couple weeks, but it took four hours," Finnis said. "So I just thought, I'm going to stick at this, especially as we're off for awhile and the golf fans, more importantly, asked me to."
It happened so quickly that Finnis asked for donations to stop at one point so he could catch up and get more prizes to add to the raffle.
Please no more donations !!! Unreal from the golf world 1000 tickets sold in 4 hours £10k donations !!! Please don't put any more bids in As all tickets sold just need 1000 raffle tickets 😂 Was expecting it to take a lot longer !!! Thank you to all that donated— ian finnis (@FinoEFC) April 7, 2020
Some of the prizes Finnis has been able to raffle off include a Tiger Woods signed 2019 Masters flag, a Sergio Garcia signed Masters yardage book, a 2014 Ryder Cup official team sweater, tank top and polo, a Masters player yardage book and caddie cap and a signed Brooks Koepka 100th PGA Championship flag, among plenty of others.
"I had a lot of items I donated, then a group chat of caddies I'm in, I asked them all to donate one item each," Finnis said. "Then golf brands and a few coaches who I know, too, and some caddies saw it and sent prizes, which is awesome."
Results from draw!! £35 grand donated so far MASSIVE thanks to all the golf world for supporting this, Also to all the people who donated prizes and help promote it , Looks like we going to do one more BIG lock down draw. So keep a look out people #Eurocaddies❤️ pic.twitter.com/pxSD6kZwJv— ian finnis (@FinoEFC) April 13, 2020
As the raffle and fundraiser started gaining more and more steam, Finnis saw more interest in donations and prizes that helped his effort.
Titleist donated a new driver and fitting.
TaylorMade kicked in a driver and fitting of its own, as well.
Big prize this from the @TaylorMadeTour truck lads @Adrianrietveld Sam Day and mark Thiselton . Taylormade Sim driver with full driver fitting at wentworth fitting studio!! Massive Thanks from the caddies pic.twitter.com/R7nPbt2txA— ian finnis (@FinoEFC) April 9, 2020
Other caddies joined in to donate items.
Finnis has been grateful for the support and the outreach from fans, golfers and fellow caddies about the fundraiser. He's hoping it shines a little bit of light on a tough situation for people in need and that it makes a small difference.
"The response is amazing," Finnis said. "Proves how good the golf world and community is. And hopefully we can all get back out soon, everyone stays safe."