After reportedly stiffing his caddie for more than $50,000, the professional golfer find himself the target of controversy.
After his usual caddie was unable to attend the Mayakoba Classic, golfer Matt Kuchar enlisted the help of a fill-in caddie, David Giral Ortiz. Prior to the event, they agreed upon a sliding pay scale, up to $4,000 based on Kuchar’s performance.
Kuchar ended up winning the event, collecting more than $1.296 million for his victory. Typically, caddies earn a 10% share in winnings on top of whatever normal pay they would earn. For this event, his caddie would have earned nearly $129,000 as his share of the winnings. Matt’s final (initial) check to his fill-in caddie was for $5000, admittedly an extra $1,000 on top of his agreed-upon pay.
Obviously this $5,000 figure didn’t account for any winnings. In fact, Kuchar himself realized that the $5,000 paycheck given to Ortiz wasn’t enough, and offered him an additional $15,000. That would make his total pay $20,000, still more than $100K short of what his normal caddie would have earned from the event.
At some point Ortiz recognized how much he was shorted, and asked for more pay. He was very reasonable, consider how much he should have earned, and asked for $50,000. Kuchar was reported as making comments alluding to the fact that he wasn’t losing any sleep over the matter and that earning $5000 was an excellent week for Ortiz.
Rather than accepting any responsibility or fault initially, Kuchar chose to try and downplay the situation, coming across as quite insensitive. For that, he has been heckled by fans and spectators alike. This really should come as no surprise to Matt, as deflecting when you’re clearly in the wrong only angers people. The fact is, Matt would’ve paid far more than $50,000 had it been his normal caddie, so it shouldn’t matter that he used a fill-in. 10% is 10%.
Matt Ponies Up
Kuchar eventually realized that the impact his actions and response towards Ortiz caused weren’t worth it. His public image was suffering, showing an ugly, callous side to him. He may have believed the pay he gave Ortiz was sufficient, but he seems to forget that he won the tournament.
Maybe he thought that because he was only a fill-in caddie, he wasn’t entitled to any winnings. Either way, Kuchar was clearly in the wrong. Fortunately he saw this, and inevitably did end up paying Ortiz the $50,000 requested. Matt definitely came out on top here, saving nearly $80,000 on his caddie bill.
Kuchar is currently playing at the Genesis Open and continues to receive backlash for his actions. It’ll take a while for the former nice guy to receive some peace, but in the meantime he should focus on golf.