Matt Kuchar’s first PGA victory in four years should have had a happy ending.
It was anything but for David Giral Ortiz, Kuchar’s temporary caddie at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico in November. The Mexican caddie nicknamed El Tucan recently ended his silence, saying he received only $5,000 after Kuchar’s victory, according to a story published Tuesday by Golf.com.
“I am a humble man, who takes care of his family, and works hard. I am reaching out to you to see if you can facilitate me receiving a fair amount for my help with Matt winning $1,296,000,” Ortiz said in an email to Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, which was obtained by Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger. “I am not looking to disparage Matt or give him a bad name. Fair is fair, and I feel like I was taken advantage of by placing my trust in Matt.”
The response that Ortiz, 40, said he received from Steinberg was, “I am out of the country. What Matt has offered is fair.”
Previous reports on social media indicated Kuchar paid only $3,000, which is considerably less than what regular caddies receive from a pro golfer who has won an event. Ortiz was an emergency replacement for Kuchar’s regular caddie, John Wood, who had prior plans when the golfer decided at the last minute to enter the event.
Following the victory, Kuchar said of Ortiz, “He was definitely my lucky charm. He brought me good luck and certainly some extra crowd support, and did a great job as well. He did just what I was hoping for and looking for.”
Ortiz, who is a regular caddie at the Mayakoba Resort near Cancun, told Golf.com that the agreement was a $3,000 fee for the week with an undetermined bonus to be paid based on prize money earned. He was surprised when the total — paid in U.S. cash — amounted to only $5,000. Typically, a tour caddie will make 10 percent if his player wins.
At the Sony Open in January, when Kuchar was approached again about the fee Ortiz received, the golfer said, “That’s not a story. It wasn’t 10 percent. It wasn’t $3,000.”
Through a translator, Ortiz since told Golf.com, “Matt is a good person and a great player. He treated me very well. I am only disappointed by how it all finished.”
An additional $15,000 was offered, but Ortiz said he turned it down because he believed he deserved another $45,000. “No thank you. They can keep their money.”
Steinberg later told Golf.com that “reports on what Matt’s caddie was offered are wildly inaccurate. However, it is inappropriate to discuss those amounts publicly.”
On Tuesday, Steinberg said he would not have any further comment.
—Field Level Media