Matt Kuchar of the United States plays his shot from the 13th tee during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Spyglass Hill Golf Course on February 08, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Kuchar responds to incident over caddie payment

Matt Kuchar defended his decision this week to pay his substitute caddie $5,000 following a victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.

Kuchar won $1.3 million for the win with David Ortiz serving as his caddie in place of regular John Wood. A typical payout for a win of 10 percent would have meant a $130,000 pay day for the caddie.

The incident began to come to light last month when Kuchar was playing in the Sony Open in Hawaii, an event he also won.

Kuchar, who played collegiately at Georgia Tech, addressed the incident with GolfChannel.com on Wednesday.

“It’s kind of too bad that it’s turned into a story,” Kuchar told the website. “I really didn’t think it was a story because we had an arrangement when I started. I’ve done enough tournaments and had enough weekly caddies and I’m very clear about what the payment will be. And we had an arrangement Tuesday that David was OK with, and I thought Sunday he was very much okay with it.

“I kind of feel like unfortunately some other people have got it in his head that he’s deserving something different than what we agreed upon. And it’s just too bad that it’s turned into a story, because it doesn’t need to be. We had a great week.”

Kuchar said he arranged a pay structure with Ortiz that would have paid him as much as $4,000. Kuchar paid an extra $1,000 after the victory. He said he subsequently offered Ortiz an additional $15,000 after the story become public but it was refused.

Kuchar has been criticized on social media.

“I kind of think if he had the chance to do it over again, same exact deal, that he’d say ‘yes’ again,” Kuchar told GolfChannel.com. “You’re not going to buy people’s ability to be OK with you, and this seems to be a social media issue more than anything. 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.”

Ortiz told Golf.com that he had agreed to the pay structure but was hoping for an additional $45,000 for a total of $50,000. 

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

However, on the offer for an additional payment, Ortiz told the website he said “No thank you. They can keep their money.”

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