Kuchar won the Mayakoba Golf Classic last year with El Tucan on the bag but was heavily criticised after paying him less than 1% of his winnings
Matt Kuchar’s Local Caddie ‘El Tucan’ – “I Have No Anger”
Kuchar won around $1.3m and paid Ortiz just $5,000.
That was the agreed sum between the pair at the start of the week but it is less than 1% of Kuchar’s winnings as oppose to a usual caddie’s five or 10 percent share of the 1st prize.
El Tucan, speaking to the New York Post, says that he has no hard feelings for Kuchar who eventually paid him $50,000 after intense pressure from golf fans and social media amid a PR storm.
“Good player, good person, good performance, everything was good,’’ El Tucan told the New York Post.
“The only thing that was not good was he didn’t pay me good.
“That was the problem.’’
Ortiz, who now has the flagstick proudly on show at home, recalled the emotion of the victory.
“I cried,” he said, “I couldn’t speak afterward because of so much emotion and joy.’’
“Should be $130,000 for me,’’ Ortiz said. “If not, maybe 7 percent, 6 percent, even 5 percent is good for me. But not 1 percent.’’
“I was surprised. I thought, ‘Maybe he will pay me more later.’ ’’
“Fifty thousand dollars, for me, is big.
“It’s everything to me 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.’’
El Tucan owns an agriculture business with 10 employees and also bought a second-hand BMW with the money.
Another fascinating aspect of the PR Storm was the emails going back and forth between Kuchar’s team and the host venue El Cameleon.
Kuchar is represented by Mark Steinberg, who also looks after Tiger Woods.
Steinberg is clearly a leader in his field, but you can’t help thinking that he and Kuchar got it wrong from a PR stand-point.
“I knew he was not going to get paid the 10 percent, you can understand that,’’ David Lopez, Director of Golf at El Cameleon, said.
“But it’s Matt Kuchar. You expect this guy — one of the top players in the world — to act accordingly, especially with such a big-name agent, Steinberg. You’d think these guys would be a little smarter, right?”
Kuchar made a comment in the media, saying that “For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week.”
That was perceived as racist by the Mexicans and did not go down well.
David Lopez told the New York Post that the $45,000 came after that, describing Kuchar’s comments as “insane.”
“It was so wrong,” he said.
“You can’t say that kind of stuff. It’s extremely racial. It just seemed like every time Matt opened his mouth it kept getting worse and worse and worse.’’
The issue is all sorted now with El Tucan fully paid up and enjoying life as a local celebrity.
“People come here to play and they say, ‘Send me El Tucan.’ He’s gotten a big advantage out of the whole situation. It’s crazy how big it got,” Lopez said.
“I enjoy the celebrity. I’m the first Mexican caddie ever to win on the PGA Tour. I made history,” El Tucan said.
He also says that he has no hard feelings towards the American.
“Kuchar is a good person,’’ Ortiz said. “I’m not angry. Everything is good. Not paying was not good. But I have no anger.’’
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