Matt Kuchar's substitute caddie confirms he wasn't happy with pay: "I feel like I was taken advantage of"

Alex Myers
Golf Digest
Matt Kuchar's substitute caddie confirms he wasn't happy with pay: "I feel like I was taken advantage of"
Matt Kuchar's substitute caddie confirms he wasn't happy with pay: "I feel like I was taken advantage of"

It appears the saga of Matt Kuchar's substitute caddie at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, a local looper nicknamed El Tucan who helped guide Kuchar to his first PGA Tour win in more than four years, did not have a happy ending.

The Mexican caddie, whose real name is David Giral Ortiz, made his first comments regarding the hotly debated issue of how he was compensated to Golf Magazine's Michael Bamberger. Ortiz confirmed a widely circulated rumor he had only received $5,000 following Kuchar's win in November—and that he wasn't satisfied.

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“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 $1,296,000," Ortiz wrote in an email obtained by Bamberger to Kuchar's agent, Mark Steinberg. "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.”

Ortiz also shared the one response he's received from Steinberg, which read, "“I am out of the country. What Matt has offered is fair.”

Ortiz, who is a full-time club caddie, told Bamberger he had hoped to make as much as $130,000, or the typical 10 percent a tour caddie makes if his player wins. However, he felt $50,000 would have been fair compensation. It's a figure he's been seeking from Kuchar since, and although he was offered an additional $15,000 for a total of $20,000, Ortiz declined.

Ortiz said he and Kuchar had an agreement for $3,000 plus an unspecified amount of the player's winnings. He was disappointed when he counted $5,000 in the envelope Kuchar handed him that Sunday night.

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What had been a feel-good story took a turn when PGA Tour pro Tom Gillis began tweeting in January about Ortiz only getting paid $3,000. Kuchar was asked about it at that week's Sony Open, which he wound up winning with his regular caddie, John Wood, on the bag. “That’s not a story," said Kuchar, who was very complimentary of Ortiz following the win at Mayakoba. "It wasn’t 10 percent. It wasn’t $3,000."

Turns out, it was a lot closer to the latter.

On the bright side, Ortiz says he is getting more caddie gigs at the Mayakoba resort since adding a PGA Tour win to his résumé. But despite mostly good memories working for Kuchar, who is in this field at this week's Genesis Open, he has changed his mind about doing it again if the opportunity arises at next year's event.

“Matt is a good person and a great player," Ortiz said. "He treated me very well. I am only disappointed by how it all finished.”

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