18 | OCT | 2019
U.S. golfer refused fair pay to Mexican caddie
Matt Kuchar - Photo: Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

U.S. golfer refused fair pay to Mexican caddie

19/02/2019
15:26
Reuters
Mexico City
-A +A
Caddies typically receive a percentage of what their player earns, sometimes as high as 10%

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Calling the outcry over his caddie’s pay from a tournament in November “a social media issue more than anything,” Matt Kuchar said he had no regrets about the USD $5,000 he paid his emergency replacement to be on the bag for the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.

Kuchar, who won the tournament, his first Tour victory in four years, took home a USD $1.3 million check, in contrast to what he paid substitute caddie David Giral Ortíz. Caddies typically receive a percentage of what their player earns, sometimes as high as 10%.

In comments to GolfChannel.com, Kuchar’s arguments were that he and Ortíz had agreed to a fixed payment and that their arrangement included bonuses that would have maximized the payment at USD $4,000, so Ortíz received more than the arrangement.

“It’s kind of too bad that it’s turned into a story. I really didn’t think it was a story because we had an arrangement when I started,” Kuchar said. “I’ve done enough tournaments and had enough weekly caddies, and I’m very clear about what the payment will be. And we had an arrangement Tuesday that David was OK with, and I thought Sunday he was very much OK with it.”

Instead, Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger obtained an e-mail Ortíz sent to Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, in which Ortíz said he felt “like I was taken advantage of by placing my trust in Matt.”

“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 USD $1,296,000, [...] “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,” reads the e-mail.

Ortíz, a regular caddie at the Mayakoba Resort near Cancún, told Golf.com that the agreement was a USD $3,000 fee for the week with an undetermined bonus to be paid based on prize money earned. He was surprised when the total amounted to only USD $5,000.

Kuchar also said that he had subsequently offered Ortíz $15,000 more, but the caddie didn’t accept the offer.

Ortíz confirmed that he was offered the extra money, but said he turned it down because he believed he deserved another $45,000.

“No thank you. They can keep their money,” Ortíz said.

Kuchar added that he “certainly (doesn’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 USD $5,000 is a great week.”

but last week, Kuchar said that he “made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse, […] They made it seem like I was marginalizing David Ortíz and his financial situation, which was not my intention. I read them again and cringed.”

The golfer agreed to pay the Mexican caddie another USD $45,000 and plans to call him to apologize.

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