David 'El Tucan' Ortiz reveals his side of 'Caddie-Gate' debacle with Matt Kuchar

Rob Carr/Getty Images

David 'El Tucan' Ortiz reveals his side of 'Caddie-Gate' debacle with Matt Kuchar

PGA Tour

David 'El Tucan' Ortiz reveals his side of 'Caddie-Gate' debacle with Matt Kuchar

By

It’s been one year since Matt Kuchar stiffed his fill-in caddie at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, but David Giral Ortiz harbors no resentment.

The 41-year-old caddie at El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen was placed at the center of a debate about how much players pay their caddies last November. Kuchar initially paid Ortiz $5,000 for helping him earn his eighth PGA Tour win and the $1.3 million prize at Mayakoba.

In an interview with the New York Post published Saturday, Ortiz tells Mark Cannizzaro his side of the infamous story.

Ortiz, who goes by the nickname “El Tucan”, was asked to caddie for Kuchar the Monday before last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic. Ortiz said he jumped at the opportunity, met Kuchar that Tuesday and the two agreed on payment. According to the Post, Kuchar told Ortiz he would earn $1,000 each for the Tuesday practice round and Wednesday pro-am in addition to $3,000 for the tournament, regardless of whether Kuchar made the cut.

Ortiz, who speaks in broken English according to the report, countered with the former Georgia Tech golfer.

“I said, ‘If you win, 10 percent for me,’ ’’ Ortiz said, according to the Post. “He said, ‘Of course,’ but it felt like he was just looking at me like I’m this little guy.’’

Mayakoba Golf Classic: Tee times, TV info | Betting odds

The story gets even more disappointing from there.

Kuchar went on to win and gave Ortiz $5,000 instead of the customary 10 percent, which would have been $130,000. When asked about the payment later, Kuchar told reporters, “For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week,” and “I certainly don’t lose any sleep over this.”

When the media picked up the story and it blew up on social media, director of golf at El Camaleon David Lopez reached out to Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg, on behalf of Ortiz.

Matt Kuchar walks to the 15th green during the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course on November 9, 2018 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“It was so wrong,” Lopez said about Kuchar’s comments. “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.’’

Lopez added if Kuchar had not paid Ortiz when he did, the tournament was about to step up and make things right.

“The (Mayakoba) ownership was pissed,’’ Lopez told the New York Post. “The ownership was ready to tell Kuchar, ‘Don’t worry … don’t even bother to show up next year.’ They were about to pay Tucan themselves.’’

RELATED: Matt Kuchar: ‘It’s a moment I’m not proud of’

Kuchar finally paid Ortiz a total of $50,000 for stepping in as caddie, less than 5 percent of Kuchar’s winnings at the event. While the controversy placed Ortiz in the middle of a media frenzy, the Post reported he is not resentful of Kuchar or the experience.

In fact, Ortiz’s career has grown due to the notoriety and he has earned more than other caddies at El Camaleon due to the number of golfers requesting him on their bags.

And he was able to buy a used BMW with his paycheck.

“Kuchar is a good person,’’ Ortiz told the Post. “I’m not angry. Everything is good. Not paying was not good. But I have no anger.’’

Kuchar will return to El Camaleon for this year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic which begins Thursday.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home