Matt Kuchar’s career brain fart will resurface this week when he defends the Mayakoba and the stories of what exactly happened keep down in Mexico keep on coming.
David ‘El Tucan’ Ortiz might be one of the best-known caddies in the game even though he has only looped once on the PGA Tour and his daily rate is $65.
He was the caddie who got stiffed by Kuchar to the tune of $5,000 – $1,000 for the Tuesday practice round, $1,000 for the Wednesday pro-am and $3,000 for the tournament whatever happened – despite the American collecting the first prize of $1.3 million.
Kuchar and his manager Mark Steinberg handled the post-victory revelations as badly as they had handled the original payment and, three months later, Kuchar deposited a further $45,000 into Ortiz’s account.
Now, thanks to Mark Cannizzaro’s visit for the New York Post, it has emerged that Ortiz had brought up the subject of his percentage before the tournament got going.
“I said, ‘If you win, 10 per cent for me,’ ’’ Ortiz said. “He said, ‘Of course,’ but it felt like he was just looking at me like I’m this little guy.’’
Then he was handed the envelope with is $5,000 pay out.
“Should be $130,000 for me,’’ Ortiz added. “If not, maybe seven per cent, six per cent, even five per cent is good for me. But not one per cent (which would have been $13,000).’ I was surprised,’’ Ortiz said. “I thought, ‘Maybe he will pay me more later.’’’
Despite the belated payment and horrific reasoning behind it there is some good news as Ortiz, who has his own landscaping business with 10 employees, is now a local celebrity who everyone wants on their bag and he’s been able to put the money to good use.
“$50,000, for me, is big. It’s everything and not too much to [Kuchar]. The $50,000 I needed for my business and to fix my kitchen and bathroom at home and to buy a new cell phone.’’
Three days after the second payment he also bought a second-hand BMW.
“Kuchar is a good person. I’m not angry. Everything is good. Not paying was not good. But I have no anger.’’
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One hilarious side note that sadly never happened was that Ortiz had considered opening up a laundry, which might have been called “Kuchar Laundry”, but, panicked by his new-found fame and being ripped off by local labourers, it never got off the ground.
Kuchar will have spent chunks of the past 12 months wishing, despite the win, that he and Ortiz had never met. The chances that they did in the first place were at pretty long odds.
As David Lopez, the director of golf at El Camaleon and the man who helped with the emails to Steinberg, explains: “He wasn’t the first option. We had a professional from Mexico who caddied the year before for CT Pan, and he did a good job. But he ended up not being able to come, and I talked to (the tournament director) Joe Mazzeo and we’re like, ‘Send Tucan’.
“Tucan actually qualified with another guy, Armando Favela, who won the Mexican qualifier. But that guy wanted to give a brother or a cousin an experience so he dropped Tucan. Then he gets a Canadian guy in the Monday qualifier and he decided to bring his coach to caddie.
“All of a sudden, Kuchar is getting there on Tuesday. It was like, ‘Who do we get?’ Tucan is right there. It just happened. It’s crazy. When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.’’
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?