According to businessinsider.com, Gig Harbor resident Michael Greller has made about $375,000 over the last month — likely more than he made teaching math at Narrows View Intermediate School in University Place.
Greller, 37, is fresh off a huge Masters win as the caddie of 21-year-old Jordan Spieth. Spieth finished the Masters 18-under par on Sunday, becoming the second youngest golfer to ever win it, behind only Tiger Woods in 1997.
Greller has made a remarkable and unlikely journey to the top of the caddying world. Greller first caddied for Spieth in the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton after caddying at various courses including Chambers Bay, the site of this year’s U.S. Open. Spieth, the PGA Tour’s brightest young star, hired Greller on full time, despite his somewhat limited experience.
So far, the decision has paid dividends.
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Greller’s unique rise to the top has garnered national attention: The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both published stories on Greller since Sunday.
Walking up the 18th hole fairway on Sunday, with a four-stroke lead over Justin Rose, Spieth put his arm around Greller and the pair smiled. The realization that the 21-year-old had won the Masters had sunk in for both of them. It was a touching and heartwarming moment that illustrates the bond they share. While it’s first and foremost a work relationship, it’s clear the two share a friendship as well.
In a story I wrote last June, Greller’s wife, Ellie, summed up the dynamic well.
"They have a unique relationship; it’s a work relationship but it’s also like they’re brothers," she said. "Michael is like the big brother. I think that’s one of the reasons that they have so much success."
Ellie, who previously taught at Artondale Elementary, married Michael in August 2013 at Chambers Bay Golf Course. Now, all eyes will be on Spieth as he returns to Greller’s home course for the U.S. Open in June. If anything, playing at Chambers Bay should be advantageous for the duo, given Greller’s intimate knowledge of the course.
With Spieth, the future of golf has arrived. While Tiger Woods had a respectable Masters, his continued fade into obscurity has paved the way for golf’s brightest new stars. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Spieth, ranked No. 1 and 2 in the world, respectively, appear poised to entertain us for years to come.
All eyes will be golf’s young stars at the U.S. Open, but Greller figures to generate plenty of local interest as well. With his meteoric rise in the golf world, after working as a teacher just a few years ago, Greller’s return to Chambers Bay will be a fascinating storyline to follow. It will be special for the Grellers, their families and friends. And given the way Spieth is playing right now, it could wind up being pretty special for him, too.