Pro golfer Matt Kuchar defended paying his caddie $5,000 for his services after Kuchar took home $1.296 million for winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.
Kuchar, 40, told Golf Channel at the Genesis Open on Wednesday that he indeed paid local Mexican caddie David “El Tucan” Giral Ortiz, who was replacing Kuchar's regular caddie, John Wood, $5,000 and offered him an additional $15,000 but he turned it down.
Kuchar told Golf Channel that he and Ortiz made an agreement that the caddie would make $3,000 for the week with a bonus that would have allowed him to earn $4,000.
“I ended up paying him $5,000 and I thought that was more than what we agreed upon,” Kuchar said. “I kind of think, if he had the chance to do it over again, same exact deal, that he’d say 'yes' again.”
Ortiz, 40, told Golf.com he thought he was underpaid. He told the website he “believed his work and contribution toward the win was worth $50,000.”
“Matt is a good person and a great player. He treated me very well. I am only disappointed by how it all finished,” Ortiz told Golf.com.
The New York Post reported caddies normally get about 5 percent of a player’s earnings “with as much as 10 percent depending on whether the golfer wins or finishes near the top.” The Washington Post reported Wood, Kuchar’s regular caddie, would have made approximately $126,000.
When asked by the Golf Channel if Kuchar could change anything about the agreement he said he felt he was fair.
“It’s done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good,” he said. “You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not going to buy people’s ability to be OK with you, and this seems to be a social media issue more than anything. I think it shouldn’t be, knowing that there was a complete, agreed-upon deal that not only did I meet but exceeded."
He added: “So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this. 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."