Matt Kuchar’s “lucky charm” substitute caddie said he was stiffed out of as much as $45,000 after the golfer won last year’s Mayakoba Classic in Mexico, according to a report this week.
David Giral Ortiz, a local caddie nicknamed “El Tucan,” was paid just $5,000 after Kuchar’s one-stroke victory in the November tournament, he told Golf.com. Kuchar’s earnings for the tournament, his first win in four years, came out to $1,296,000.
Ortiz said he was offered another $15,000 by Kuchar’s agent but turned it down, finding it to be an unacceptable amount. “No thank you,” he told Golf.com. “They can keep their money.”
Caddies on the PGA Tour typically get 5 percent of a player’s earnings and can make as much as 10 percent for a win or a top-10 finish. Before the tournament, the 40-year-old was told he’d earn $3,000 plus an unspecified percentage of Kuchar’s earnings.
But Ortiz said he didn’t expect to make what a tour caddie gets, telling the website that his services had been worth about $50,000, less than half of what a tour caddie would’ve made.
Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, offered the additional $15,000 after Ortiz sent him an email in January using Google Translate, the report said. Steinberg is best known for being Tiger Wood’s agent.
The “reports [sic] on what Matt’s caddie was offered are wildly inaccurate,” he told Golf.com “However, it is inappropriate to discuss those amounts publicly.”
John Wood, Kuchar’s usual caddie, wasn’t able to make the trip to the Mayakoba Resort near Cancun because of a prior commitment. So Ortiz, a regular caddie there, was picked as a substitute.
“He was definitely my lucky charm,” Kuchar told reporters at the time. “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 lives in a small house about 20 minutes away from the resort, said he and his wife hoped to open up a laundromat with the payments, according to the report. For now, though, Ortiz told the website his services at the resort have been in demand, making him as much as $200 on a good day.
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