LOS ANGELES – Matt Kuchar, who earned more than $ 45 million as a professional golfer, went to Mexico last fall his first victory in four years – and a local caddy who could help him get it.
Kuchar found both. But that happy ending is quickly resolved in a scandal that Kuchar, 40, throws into a country club sport like an ugly American and a particularly shameless elite.
Kuchar has been accused of having exterminated his caddy in Mexico, David, Giral Ortiz, by paying him a small part of what the work usually yields when the boss wins $ 1,296 million, as Kuchar did at the Mayakoba Classic in Playa del Carmen.
In a typical PGA Tour arrangement, a caddy receives a flat rate of $ 1,500 for the tournament, covering the costs, and a bonus of 10 percent of the golfer's winnings.
Ortiz told Golf.com that the two had agreed on $ 3,000, plus an unspecified amount of his winnings, while Kuchar said he had pledged Ortiz $ 1,000 for a missed cut, $ 2,000 for a cut, $ 3,000 for a top-20 finish and $ 4,000 for a top-10 finish, without specifications for a win.
"The extra $ 1,000 was, & # 39; Thanks – it was a great week", "Kuchar to ld Golf.com." Those were the conditions. He agreed with those conditions. That is what I have trouble with. I do not know what happened. Someone must have said, & # 39; You need a lot more. & # 39; "
He and Ortiz had never worked together before, but Kuchar, who had added the tournament to his schedule in a spur of the moment, needed a replacement for his normal caddy from the United States.
Questions their scheme soon came to appear on social media and indignation began to build against Kuchar, who was long regarded as one of the more affable players on tour.
At the recent Phoenix Open, fans of the typically raw 16th the hole chanted "Pay your caddy" when it was Kuchar's turn to hit.
A few players, like Tom Gillis, who participates in the PGA Tour Champions, have Kuchar's job on Twitter. "What would Did Jack or Arnie do in this situation? "Wrote Gillis, referring to two of the greats of the game, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer." Seize the chance to change the life of a man. "
Despite the sympathetic reputation of Kuchar, have his peers who played with him this week at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, site of the Genesis Open, largely chosen to avoid the issue or, when the veil of anonymity is given, have said that his thrift is not the majority of professional golfers.
Marc Graubart, a Houston resident who regularly employed Ortiz during golfing holidays in Mexico, said he happened to be an orphan at Ortiz in Mexico last month when there were questions about his compensation. They saw Kuchar on television during a tournament on Hawaii, told reporters that he had paid Ortiz more than $ 3,000 for his services and less than 10 percent of his total revenue.
Graubart said on Thursday in a telephone interview that he had questioned Ortiz about the details of his unwritten agreement with Kuchar. Then Graubart said, he explained the typical pay scale to Ortiz, who did not know that he could have earning more money.
Graubart said that he and a friend Ortiz kept writing e-mails to the agent of Kuchar, Mark Steinberg, with the request for more compensation. In an e-mail from Jan. 23 who received the New York Times, Ortiz wrote that he had asked Kuchar for a percentage of his first plate check if he would win. The existence of the e-mails was first reported by Golf.com.
"Matt said & # 39; sure & # 39; with a smile," wrote Ortiz in the e-mail, "not believing that he would actually win the tournament." 39;
A few days later, Graubart said, Ortiz received a $ 20,000 offer from a tournament director who appeared to act on behalf of Kuchar's agent, and Graubart said that Ortiz had requested $ 50,000 and the caddy wrote an e-mail asking whether he could act directly with Steinberg, who replied: "I am out of the country. What Matt has offered is fair. "
Some golf enthusiasts clearly do not agree, a GoFundMe account was set up on behalf of Ortiz, with the aim of raising the $ 50,000 he could not receive from Kuchar. .