The Matt Kuchar-David "El Tucan" Ortiz story continues to duel Sergio Garcia's actions in Saudi Arabia for the lead golf story of the year, and neither is going anywhere.about how he felt taken advantage of by Kuchar after receiving a $5,000 tip on Kuchar's $1.3 million in winnings from last fall's Mayakoba Golf Classic, Kuchar responded.
"I kind of think someone got in his ear," Kuchar told Golf.com on Wednesday. "I was very clear and very upfront on Tuesday [of the tournament week]. And he said, 'OK.' He had the ability, with bonuses, to make up to $4,000."
Ortiz and Kuchar had apparently set up a sliding payment scale based on where Kuchar finished for the week. On the PGA Tour, it's normal to pay 5 percent for a made cut, 7 percent for a top 10 and 10 percent for a win to your regular caddie. Ortiz, however, is not a regular caddie and was working as a fill in for Kuchar for the week in Mexico. Here's Michael Bamberger of Golf.com with more details.
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.'"
"For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week," he added later on.
That sentence is the crux of the entire thing. Technically, Kuchar is right, but he's also using this as justification to not really do the right thing. He's whiffing so hard on the reality that the cost of not paying El Tucan even close to what a caddie would normally make is far greater than what he's saving in money.
"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 told Golf.com.
I believe that. This is not a story about Kuchar being a bad dude. It's a story about how outrageous wealth can erase the self-awareness necessary to understand exactly how patronizing relative generosity actually is.
"It's done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good," Kuchar said via GolfChannel.com. "You can't make everybody happy. 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."