Infotainment Factory: Caddie dispute turns ugly over $1.8m payday

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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Caddie dispute turns ugly over $1.8m payday


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It was the fairytale story that’s turned ugly over a pay dispute, with a Mexican caddie accusing pro-golfer Matt Kuchar of underpaying him by $63,000 following a PGA Tour event in November.

Now Kuchar has hit back, saying he’s “disappointed” and “sad” at the way events have panned out.

When Kuchar’s regular caddie, John Wood, didn’t make the trip to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic last year, the former world No. 4 hired local David Giral Ortiz, a full-time club caddie.

Describing Ortiz as his “lucky charm,” Kuchar won the tournament and the $1.82m first prize, but paid his caddie just over $7000, which, according to Kuchar, is 25 percent more than what was agreed at the start of the week.

The normal rate, for a full-time tour caddie, would have been 10 percent, or $182,000. And while Ortiz isn’t suggesting he should earn the same rate as a tour caddie, he did suggest something in the vicinity of $70,000 would have been more appropriate.

Matt Kuchar Mayakoba Classic.

According to golf.com, Ortiz made contact with Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, via email asking for more money.

“I am a humble man, who takes care of his family, and works hard,” he wrote.

“I am reaching out to you to see if you can facilitate me receiving a fair amount for my help with Matt winning $US1,296,000 ($AUD1.82m). 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 was reportedly also offered an extra $21,000, which he rejected. According to golf.com, when asked if he would caddy for Kuchar next year when he defends his title, Ortiz replied: “No thank you. I’m a little bit pissed, a lit bit confused.”

Kuchar, who has a reputation as one of golf’s good guys, says he hopes Ortiz can move on.

“I think people know me well enough to know I wasn’t trying to get away with anything, that is not how I operate,” Kuchar said.

“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week,” he said.

Kuchar has won twice on tour this season, banking more than $4m already. The 40-year-old has career prizemoney of more than $65m.

It was the fairytale story that’s turned ugly over a pay dispute, with a Mexican caddie accusing pro-golfer Matt Kuchar of underpaying him by $63,000 following a PGA Tour event in November.

Now Kuchar has hit back, saying he’s “disappointed” and “sad” at the way events have panned out.

When Kuchar’s regular caddie, John Wood, didn’t make the trip to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic last year, the former world No. 4 hired local David Giral Ortiz, a full-time club caddie.

Describing Ortiz as his “lucky charm,” Kuchar won the tournament and the $1.82m first prize, but paid his caddie just over $7000, which, according to Kuchar, is 25 percent more than what was agreed at the start of the week.

The normal rate, for a full-time tour caddie, would have been 10 percent, or $182,000. And while Ortiz isn’t suggesting he should earn the same rate as a tour caddie, he did suggest something in the vicinity of $70,000 would have been more appropriate.

Matt Kuchar Mayakoba Classic.

According to golf.com, Ortiz made contact with Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, via email asking for more money.

“I am a humble man, who takes care of his family, and works hard,” he wrote.

“I am reaching out to you to see if you can facilitate me receiving a fair amount for my help with Matt winning $US1,296,000 ($AUD1.82m). 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 was reportedly also offered an extra $21,000, which he rejected. According to golf.com, when asked if he would caddy for Kuchar next year when he defends his title, Ortiz replied: “No thank you. I’m a little bit pissed, a lit bit confused.”

Kuchar, who has a reputation as one of golf’s good guys, says he hopes Ortiz can move on.

“I think people know me well enough to know I wasn’t trying to get away with anything, that is not how I operate,” Kuchar said.

“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week,” he said.

Kuchar has won twice on tour this season, banking more than $4m already. The 40-year-old has career prizemoney of more than $65m.

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