Matt Kuchar defended the $5,000 payment he made to local caddie David "El Tucan" Ortiz after claiming nearly $1.3 million for winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.
Kuchar hired Ortiz - a full-time caddie at the tournament's host course - when his regular looper was unable to attend the event in November. The 40-year-old golfer said his deal with Ortiz included $1,000 if he missed the cut, $2,000 for a made cut, $3,000 for a top-20 finish, and $4,000 for a top-10.
"The extra $1,000 (on top of the $4,000) was, 'Thank you, it was a great week.' Those were the terms," Kuchar added. "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.'"
Earlier in the week, Ortiz said he never expected to be paid like a regular PGA Tour caddie - which is typically 10 percent when a player wins - but that he thought $50,000 would be the right amount in this case. Ortiz added that Kuchar's agent, Mark Steinberg, offered an additional $15,000 after reports of the low payment surfaced in January, which he declined.
Kuchar said the offer of an additional $15,000 was his agency's effort at damage control, and that he would've been on the hook had Ortiz accepted.
"It's not coming out of Steinberg's pocket," Kuchar said with a smile, according to Bamberger.
Kuchar ranks 10th all time on the PGA Tour's money list with $46 million in career earnings.