Tour pro accuses Matt Kuchar of paying local caddie El Tucan light after Mayakoba win
PGA Tour

Tour pro accuses Matt Kuchar of paying local caddie El Tucan light after Mayakoba win



Back in November 2018, Matt Kuchar ended a four-year winless skid by taking the 2018 Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. It was one of many feel-good stories in the fall portion of the wraparound schedule, with the 40-year-old Georgia native earning the victory with a local caddie, David Giral Ortiz, who goes by the nickname El Tucan, on the bag

So when Kuchar made the winning putt to earn the trophy and the $1,296,000 first-place payout for taking the tournament, many figured Kuchar had agreed to pay El Tucan on the same pay scale as most any professional caddie on the PGA Tour. Under a normal PGA Tour caddie pay scale, El Tucan would have made 10 percent for being on the bag for the win, meaning a life-changing $129,600 for a week's work.

However, veteran PGA Tour player Tom Gillis has accused Kuchar of paying Ortiz well shy of that figure. Gillis took to Twitter to accuse Kuchar of paying El Tucan just $3,000 for the week's work.

This has apparently been a rumor for some time in PGA Tour circles, but Gillis making the rumor into a public accusation is a different issue entirely. UPDATE on Feb. 12: El Tucan claimed to Golf.com he was paid a $3,000 base salary and a $2,000 win bonus after Kuchar claimed the title in Mexico.

Making matters worse, Kuchar is in the spotlight this weekend, as he shot back-to-back 7-under 63s at Waialae Country Club to take a one-shot lead into the weekend. Naturally, with Kuchar in the final group on Saturday, there will be more attention on him.

Asked Saturday evening by Golfworld's Brian Wacker about the rumor, Kuchae initially offered a total denial before offering a vague clarification of his deal with Ortiz.

Kuchar is in no way required to divulge whatever agreement he made with Ortiz and whether Gillis is accurate with his claim. Besides, it might not be great for Ortiz to be a made man who the public knows suddenly has thousands more in his bank account. It's clear El Tucan clearly felt comfortable enough with Kuchar's offer to be on the bag for the week.

In Honolulu, Kuch is working with his normal caddie, John Wood, who wasn't able to be in Mayakoba because of a prior engagement and his boss deciding to enter the Mexico tournament at the last minute.

“I’m sure John’s disappointed not to have worked this week,” Kuchar said after winning Mayakoba. “He’s a great caddie, John does a fantastic job. I look forward to getting back with him next week, but I’m excited for El Tucan; sorry for John.”

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com