Rory McIlroy isn’t letting Matt Kuchar off the hook for his past caddie controversy.
During Tuesday’s Wyndham Rewards ceremony, which honored the top 10 golfers in this year’s FedEx Cup with monetary prizes, Kuchar, 41, joked that coming in two points behind McIlroy had cost him $300,000.
“And we all know what money means to him!” McIlroy, 30, interjected jokingly, referring to the February reports that Kuchar had paid his caddie only $5,000 after winning $1.296 million at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November 2018.
Kuchar stayed in good spirits after McIlroy’s comment, laughing along with the rest of the room.
After winning the November tournament, held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Kuchar paid his Mexican caddie, David “El Tucan” Giral Ortiz, $5,000. Ortiz had never worked with Kuchar before, and was filling in for the golfer’s regular caddie, according to the New York Times.
After the tournament, Ortiz requested that he be paid “a fair amount” for helping Kuchar win. According to Golf.com, he sent an email to Mark Steinberg, Kuchar’s agent, in January.
“I am a humble man,” the email reportedly began, “who takes care of his family and works hard. I am reaching out to you to see if you can facilitate me receiving a fair amount for my help with Matt winning $1,296,000. I am not looking to disparage Matt or give him a bad name. Fair is fair, and I feel like I was taken advantage of by placing my trust in Matt.”
While speaking to the Golf Channel in February, Kuchar confirmed that he had paid Ortiz $5,000, also claiming that he had then offered the caddie an additional $15,000, which he said Ortiz had turned down. The golfer also maintained that he and Ortiz had agreed on what was a fair amount at the start of the tournament week.
“It’s kind of too bad that it’s turned into a story. I really didn’t think it was a story because we had an arrangement when I started,” Kuchar told the outlet. “I’ve done enough tournaments and had enough weekly caddies, and I’m very clear about what the payment will be.”
“I certainly don’t lose sleep over this,” Kuchar added to the Golf Channel. “This is something that I’m quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week.”
According to Forbes, caddie payments can range in amount, but “most established players pay around 8% of winnings and 10% for a win to their caddie.” Golf.com shared a similar statistic: “a winning Tour caddie can expect to receive 10 percent of his or her player’s winnings.”