This seems a bit stingy. Matt Kuchar has defended his decision to pay stand-in caddie David Ortiz $5,000 for his services during the Mayakoba Golf Classic, despite walking away with the $1.3million winner's cheque.
Kuchar was without regular caddie John Wood for the tournament in Mexico last November, with local course expert Ortiz filling in. The American would go on to win the tournament. It is customary for caddies to receive 10% of the fee from a winning tournament, but Ortiz received far less. In fact he was given only $5,000, less than half a percent of the Kuchar's winnings.
The caddie was paid in cash at the end of tournament, but felt he deserved a larger cut. According to Golf.com, he emailed Kuchar's agent to express his feelings that he had been taken advantage of. The Mexican works full time as a caddy at the Playa del Carmen golf resort where the event took place, typically earning $200 per-day.
Speaking to Golf.com, Kuchar explained why he parted with such a relatively small amount of cash:
For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week.
I think people know me well enough to know I wasn't trying to get away with anything, that is not how I operate.
Matt Kuchar said he thinks a $5,000 payment to his caddie after his victory at the Mayakoba Classic in November was fair despite going home with a $1.2 million check https://t.co/2m691kln6L pic.twitter.com/j7nCEXBkk0
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 14, 2019
The exact breakdown of his agreement with Ortiz has since come to light. Golf.com's Michael Bamberger reported that this was the structure of the caddie's payment:
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 addressed the issue one final time, telling the Golf Channel on Wednesday:
It's done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good. You can't make everybody happy...
I think it shouldn't be, knowing that there was a complete, agreed-upon deal that not only did I meet but exceeded.
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.
While Kuchar did not technically operate in bad faith, a little common sense perhaps should have prevailed here. He is a player with career winnings of around $44million (not including endorsements), and a little bit extra on top of the predetermined fee would have no doubt been greatly appreciated by his caddie.
This seems like a case of a wealthy sportsperson who is slightly out of touch with what constitutes real generosity.