Matt Kuchar is defending himself over the amount he paid a fill-in caddie for carrying his bags at last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Kuchar won the event, which took place in Mexico in November. He used a fill-in caddie for the event, David “El Tucan” Ortiz, and the two agreed the caddie would be paid $3,000 plus a bonus depending on how Kuchar performed. Ortiz supposedly stood to make as much as $4,000.
Kuchar won the event after shooting 22-under for the tournament, collecting $1.296 million in prize money. He apparently bumped Ortiz’s pay to $5,000, which is where the controversy begins.
Ortiz feels underpaid and told Golf Channel that he declined an additional payment of $15,000 because he felt $50,000 was more of an appropriate amount.
After the matter received attention this week, Kuchar addressed it while speaking from the Genesis Open in Los Angeles. He said it was too bad the matter has turned into a story, and then he made some comments that made him look bad.
“So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this,” Kuchar said via Golf Channel. “This is something that I’m quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week.”
Kuchar should not be commenting on what is or is not a great week for Ortiz, nor should he say he doesn’t lose sleep over it, because that makes him look completely unsympathetic.
Ortiz agreed to a deal before the week and was paid more than what they agreed to and even offered more than he turned down. Had he told Kuchar he wanted a bigger cut of the winnings if Kuchar won it all, the golfer might have gotten someone else on the bag. At the same time, Kuchar’s success in the event vastly surpassed expectations. He could have easily expressed gratitude to Ortiz for being a part of his success by offering a more generous bonus. He chose not to and is paying the PR price. As we’ve seen time and time again, nobody likes a bad tipper.