THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
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 longterm 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 $44 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.