Kuchar’s regular caddie, John Wood, was unable to make the trip to Mexico due to a previous commitment, so Kuchar hired local caddie David Giral Ortiz, also known as El Tucan. After taking home his first PGA Tour win in four-and-a-half years, Kucher said El Tucan “was definitely my lucky charm.”
Now, there is no set fee local caddies charge to carry the bag for a pro, but bonus payments are usually anywhere between five and 10 percent of whatever the pro wins.
So, on the high end, El Tucan would have taken home $129,600 and on the low end he still would have banked a cool $64,800.
He didn’t get anywhere near either of those amounts from Kuchar.
He got $5,000 – or 0.38 percent of what Kuchar won that week.
According to Golf.com…
Ortiz said that Kuchar said at the start of the tournament that he would be paid $3,000 for the week, plus an unspecified percentage of his winnings.
On that basis, in the euphoria of victory, Ortiz had hoped to make as much as $130,000. When Kuchar left Mexico, the caddie said, he was under the impression that he would still receive a bonus.
By Sunday night of the tournament, Kuchar’s smiling face was sunburned and covered in stubble. He and Ortiz posed for pictures together with the winner’s trophy. Later, Ortiz said the golfer handed him an envelope with his payment in cash in it and said, ”There you go. Thank you. Bye.”
Now, Kuchar is trying to defend the tip, and he’s pretty much just making the hole he’s in even deeper with comments he’s made to media outlets like The Golf Channel.
According to Kuchar, they originally agreed to a bonus structure that would have allowed Ortiz to make up to $4,000 for the week.
“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.”
Kuchar basically told Golf.com the same thing…
Kuchar said he told Ortiz he would pay him $1,000 if he missed the cut, $2,000 if he made the cut, $3,000 if he had a top-20 and $4,000 if he had a top-10. “The extra $1,000 was, ‘Thank you — it was a great week.’ Those were the terms. He was in agreement with those terms. That’s where I struggle. I don’t know what happened. Someone must have said, ‘You need much more.’”
Kuchar, who has won over $47 million in his career, also said that after the controversy bubbled up his agency Excel Sports Management offered to pay El Tucan an additional $15,000 – cranking the caddie’s tip percentage all the way up to 1.5%.
Ortiz rejected the offer saying he felt a $50,000 payment would have been more appropriate.
After all the hubub, Kuchar still doesn’t get it, however.
“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week,” Kuchar told Michael Bamberger of Golf.com, adding, “Maybe I missed the boat here. I kind of think I go there [to Mexico City] next week, and win, am I expected to pay him $130,000?”
No. But more than 0.38% would have been nice.
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