SHANGHAI — Rory McIlroy didn’t have to check his bank account to know that his FedEx Cup bonus had been deposited.
His caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, informed him with a text message.
“I think his words were, ‘A tsunami just hit my bank account, so thank you very much,'” McIlroy said Wednesday on the eve of the HSBC Champions. “J.P. got a nice percentage of that, so I knew at that point it was already there.”
No payoff is greater than Sunday at East Lake. For the past seven years, the winner of the Tour Championship also has won the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus. The player receives $9 million in cash, and $1 million is deferred into a retirement account. McIlroy also earned $1.53 million from winning the tournament.
And he didn’t hesitate when it came time to rewarding his longtime caddie.
Tour caddies typically get a stipend for the week and then a percentage of the earnings up to 10 percent for a victory. McIlroy said he paid his caddie 10 percent from the $9 million he took home that day from his FedEx Cup bonus, and 10 percent from the Tour Championship earnings.
“So the total was $1.05 million,” McIlroy said. “I think he was quite happy.”
The smile on McIlroy’s face indicated he was equally happy for him.
The FedEx Cup began in 2007, and some players spent the final month debating what they should give their caddies from the bonus pool. The first year, all but $1 million of the bonus was deferred, and some players jokingly wondered if they should wait until retirement to give their caddies a bonus. Others questioned whether a caddie was entitled to bonus money beyond the tournament earnings.
McIlroy ran into those same questions his first year competing in the Race to Dubai on the European Tour. Back then, as was the case this year, he didn’t have any qualms about sharing the wealth.
“He deserved it,” he said. “He’s a big part of what we do. He was with me when I was No. 210 in the world and when I was No. 1.”
Billy Horschel gave his caddie, Micah Fugitt, a $1 million bonus when he won the FedEx Cup in 2014.
September turned out to be quite a month for McIlroy — and for Fitzgerald. McIlroy won his first PGA Tour event of the year at the Deutsche Bank Championship, which paid $1.53 million for being part of the FedEx Cup playoff. Throw in the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title, and Fitzgerald pulled in $1,206,000 in two tournaments.
That alone would have put him at No. 89 on the PGA Tour money list, one spot behind Vijay Singh.