Matt Kuchar spoke to GolfChannel.com’s Will Gray Wednesday at the Genesis Open and FedExCup leader, all-time leading money winner without a major who won last fall’s Mayakoaba event after a four-year winless drought with his “lucky charm” local caddie, is digging in.
Kuchar confirmed he paid “El Tucan” $5000 and the Golf.com report that his agent has since offered an additional $15,000 refused by Ortiz. And he’s not happy about that either. But more on that momentarily.
The graciousness ended fairly quicklky in the chat with Gray.
“I kind of feel like unfortunately some other people have got it in his head that he’s deserving something different than what we agreed upon,” Kuchar said.
He’s certainly correct that he paid $1000 more than they agreed upon, but given that it was Kuchar’s first win in __ years and that a winner’s bonus usually comes with the PGA Tour territory, he’s been blasted for not paying more.
“I ended up paying him $5,000 and I thought that was more than what we agreed upon,” Kuchar said. “I kind of think, if he had the chance to do it over again, same exact deal, that he’d say yes again.”
Good to see he learns from his mistakes!. And that he has shrewd sounding boards all around!
This may be the fatal quote…
“It’s done. Listen, I feel like I was fair and good,” he said. “You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not going to buy people’s ability to be OK with you, and this seems to be a social media issue more than anything. I think it shouldn’t be, knowing that there was a complete, agreed-upon deal that not only did I meet but exceeded.
“So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this. 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."
Glad he’s not losing sleep. But in digging in, he’s certainly losing fans and at some point, endorsement income built on a “good guy” image.
Another interview with Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger comes off even worse, suggesting “someone got in his ear”, referring to El Tucan, and says the attempt to make a payment was the idea of his agent. But he didn’t exactly approve of the idea.
Kuchar seemed slightly embarrassed that the additional sum had been offered, as he felt his financial obligation to Ortiz was complete. Asked how it came to be that the additional sum was offered, Kuchar said, “That was the agency.” He was referring to Excel Sports Management, which represents him. Kuchar’s agent there is Mark Steinberg, who also represents Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.
And in case those legendary cheapskate cred wasn’t strong enough…
Kuchar smiled and said, “It’s not coming out of Steinberg’s pocket.” In other words, Kuchar would be paying. He said the additional proffered payment was Steinberg’s effort at damage control.
Given that when you start typing Matt Kuchar into the Google Machine “Matt Kuchar El Tucan” pops up, the issue will, fairly or not, define his career.