In the realm of unexpected beginnings, Michael Greller’s journey as Jordan Spieth’s caddie had a less-than-promising start. During their first encounter at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, Greller, a sixth-grade math teacher from Seattle, made a critical error. Nervousness got the best of him, and he provided Spieth with inaccurate information about the course. Despite the blunder, the young golfer was under intense scrutiny and had high expectations to fulfill.
Greller had been dabbling in caddying for local tournaments while pursuing his teaching career, but it was never his primary focus. Little did he know that his path would drastically change after Spieth’s triumph at the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2011. The following year, when Spieth rose to the top of the world amateur rankings, he specifically requested Greller to be his full-time caddie.
Now 37 years old, Greller has transitioned to a vastly different career trajectory. As the caddie for a 21-year-old Masters champion, his earnings have far exceeded the average salary of a teacher in Seattle with 15 years of experience, estimated at $77,000. According to Business Insider’s Tony Manfred, Greller likely earned around $375,000 in the past month. Despite his newfound success, Greller still finds parallels between his current role and his former life in the classroom.
Greller believes that his decade-long teaching experience served as valuable preparation for his current responsibilities.
The ability to think quickly, adapt to unforeseen circumstances, and maintain resilience are qualities he honed during his teaching tenure. Confidence is essential in both professions, as doubt can adversely affect the performance of the person they support. Greller emphasizes the importance of serving and motivating others, just as he did with his students.
Reflecting on his current role, Greller compares it to being a teacher with only one student—Spieth. Their partnership had a serendipitous origin when Greller offered to carry a golfer’s bag during the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
This golfer turned out to be Matt Savage, who later introduced Greller to another amateur player named Justin Thomas. When Spieth needed a caddie for the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, Thomas recommended Greller, and the two instantly connected.
Leaving behind his teaching career was a significant risk for Greller. With marriage and a house to consider, taking a one-year leave of absence to caddie for an amateur golfer seemed uncertain. However, Spieth’s rapid rise to fame altered the course of their lives.
Several months later, Spieth dropped out of the University of Texas and officially hired Greller as his caddie. Over time, their relationship evolved into a brotherly bond, characterized by friendly banter and rivalry.
Beyond their camaraderie, Greller possesses a deep understanding of how to navigate Spieth’s game. When Spieth faced a double-bogey on the 17th hole during Round 3 of the Masters tournament, Greller provided a calming influence, ensuring his composure for the final hole.
Greller emphasizes the importance of not over-analyzing situations and serves as an encouraging figure for Spieth, allowing him to bounce off ideas and adapt to the challenges they encounter on the golf course.
The unconventional choice of an amateur caddie for a new champion is a rarity in the world of golf. Although numerous qualified individuals exist for the job, it is the unique bond between Greller and Spieth that sets them apart