Perhaps Matt Kuchar will not have to wear a flak jacket in Thursday’s first round of the WGC Mexico, after all. The American has sought to bring an amicable conclusion to one of golf’s more bizarre stories by finally agreeing to pay a temporary Mexican caddie $50,000 and issuing a fulsome apology.
Earlier in the week, here at the Genesis Open, Kuchar, the 40-year-old Ryder Cup star, had defended his decision to pay $5,000 to local bagman David “El Tucan” Ortiz, despite winning $1.3m at the Mayakoba Classic in Cancun.
When it was put to Kuchar that John Wood – his regular caddie who was off that week because of a prior commitment – would have received $130,000, Kuchar said about Ortiz: “For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week. I’m not losing any sleep over it.”
Ortiz criticised Kuchar, revealing that after the prize-giving he handed him an envelope stuffed with dollar bills and said: “There you go. Thanks, bye”.
Later, Ortiz complained to Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, and he was then offered an extra $15,000. Ortiz turned it down because he was under the impression he would receive a bigger bonus and felt he was due $50,000. “They can keep their money,” Ortiz said. “Fair is fair, and I feel like I was taken advantage of by placing my trust in Matt.”