After some reflection — and a host of bad press and negativity on social media — Kuchar changed course, announcing in a statement Friday that he intends to pay Ortiz “the full total that he has requested,” which was $50,000. He also pledged to donate “to the many philanthropic causes working to positively impact the communities of Playa del Carmen and Cancún.”
Ortiz, a caddie at the Mexican club where the tournament was played, was filling in for Kuchar’s usual caddie, who did not make the trip. He claimed to have agreed to $3,000 for the tournament, plus an unspecified cut of Kuchar’s winnings. But after the event, Ortiz said Kuchar handed him an envelope filled with $5,000 in cash, well below the 10 percent cut caddies usually make with a winning golfer.
Kuchar gave Bamberger his recollection of the agreement: He would pay Ortiz $1,000 if he missed the cut, $2,000 if he made the cut, $3,000 for a top 20 finish and $4,000 for a top 10.
“The extra $1,000 was, ‘Thank you — it was a great week,’ " Kuchar told Bamberger. “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.’ ”
Ortiz has said that as a local, temporary caddie he did not expect to be paid the full 10 percent of Kuchar’s winnings. After repeated attempts to contact Kuchar, someone in the golfer’s camp offered to pay Ortiz $15,000, bringing his total to $20,000 for the weekend. He declined the payment.
Kuchar told Bamberger on Wednesday that Mark Steinberg, his agent, offered the extra payment in an attempt at damage control but that the money would have come out of Kuchar’s pocket.
On his busiest days caddying at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where the tournament took place, Ortiz said he makes around $200.
“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week,” Kuchar said.
Kuchar’s full statement can be found below:
“This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse. They made it seem like I was marginalizing David Ortiz and his financial situation, which was not my intention. I read them again and cringed. That is not who I am and not what I want to represent. My entire Tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity. In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or to the expectations I’ve set for myself. I let myself, my family, my partners and those close to me down, but I also let David down. I plan to call David tonight, something that is long overdue, to apologize for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested.
I never wanted to bring any negativity to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. I feel it is my duty to represent the tournament well, so I am making a donation back to the event, to be distributed to the many philanthropic causes working to positively impact the communities of Playa del Carmen and Cancún.
For my fans, as well as fans of the game, I want to apologize to you for not representing the values instilled in this incredible sport. Golf is a game where we call penalties on ourselves. I should have done that long ago and not let this situation escalate.”
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