From The Inbox

From the Morning Read inbox

Kuchar meets his obligation, and then some
In response to reader Blaine Walker, regarding Matt Kuchar and his club caddie, David Ortiz, at the Mayakoba Golf Classic (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14):

First, Kuchar didn’t make a mistake. He lived up to an agreed verbal contract. He doesn’t need to “cough up the full 10 percent.” The only thing Kuchar needed to do was to pay the agreed-upon fee, which he did, and then some.

Second, Kuchar did not “stiff” Ortiz. According to Kuchar and Ortiz, they negotiated/agreed to a fee which included a basic component and a bonus for winning. Not only did Kuchar not “stiff” Ortiz, but he actually paid him more than the agreed-to compensation and later offered him an additional $15,000, which Ortiz refused. Instead, Ortiz tried to extort $45,000 through public shaming of Kuchar.

Third, there is no “standard fee” for a caddie, certainly not for a fill-in caddie. The up-to-10 percent of winnings that’s casually thrown around pertains to a player’s regular caddie, and even then, the compensation/conditions vary widely with each relationship.

Fourth, the amount of money that Kuchar has made throughout his career or what his current net worth happens to be has nothing to do with this situation. It’s just like the amount of money that Kuchar has spent in relation to maintaining his status as a professional golfer and supporting his family has nothing to do with this situation.

Fifth, Kuchar has no obligation to provide a “life-changing event” for Ortiz and his family.

I wonder why it is that people have no issue with spending other people’s money and telling them how they must live their lives?

Nicholas Stasiak
Putnam Valley, N.Y.

Tour should teach players how to tip caddies
It's not too late for Matt Kuchar to do the right thing (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14). He says he had a deal ($3,000-plus, depending on his finish), but that was a pretty lowball deal anyway.

When the Hogan (later Nike) Tour started nearly 30 years ago, the players on that tour were basically taught by the PGA Tour how to pay caddies. The idea was to pay the local caddie a fixed amount (about $40 to $50 per day back then), plus 5 percent of winnings as a tip if the player had a good week.

I caddied in our local tournament for a few years, and one time did have a player finish third, and I got the 5-percent tip on top of the regular pay. It was very cool for me, of course, and my player was delighted to have the high finish.

The PGA Tour should teach today's players how to do the right thing again.

Bill Rausch
Richland, Wash.

A good week’s work for a club caddie
I’m always amazed at the armchair moralists who tell others how to spend their money and how much others should spend or be taxed (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14).

With respect to Matt Kuchar’s alleged “stiffing” of caddie David Giral Ortiz, overlooked is the fact that Kuchar offered another $15,000 for a total of $20,000, which Ortiz declined.

Stories about this kerfuffle point out that a PGA Tour caddie would have received “as much as $130,000,” yet unmentioned is the fact that a Tour caddie has to work each day with the pro, has to pay his own travel expenses from his earnings, has to pay income taxes and his own medical-insurance premiums and is generally on call to work with the pro whenever called upon. Therefore, a full-time caddie on Tour is rightly paid a larger percentage of a pro’s winnings than a local free agent, because the pro will miss more cuts than will win tournaments.

While $20,000 may not seem like much money to the moralists, consider that Ortiz worked for a single week as a free agent in his hometown. Before someone accuses me of racism, let’s agree that there are a lot of Tour caddies anywhere who would be glad for a $20,000 paycheck for a week’s work.

Craig Gigax
Fishers, Ind.

Kuchar fails basic standard of goodness
Regarding Matt Kuchar’s comments defending his payment to David Ortiz, the replacement for his regular caddie: While I respect Kuchar’s contention that a deal is a deal, his characterization of his actions as “fair and good” demand greater scrutiny. He states that “making $5,000 is a great week.” I have a little rule. It is a variation of, What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

My question is, how would Kuchar react to making $5,000 a week himself? Let’s multiply it by 10 to get to $50,000 and ask the same question.

Synonyms for good include caring, considerate, generous and empathetic. Gary Woodland’s interactions with the young female golfer at the recent Phoenix Open were good. In fact, they were great. Kuchar’s actions and words do not convey good. They are adequate, at best. If this is Kuchar’s standard for fair and good, I find his standard to be woefully inadequate.

He states, “It’s kind of too bad that it’s turned into a story.”

Kuchar has had multiple opportunities, starting with the first offer to his caddie, his subsequent offers and up to and including his verbal defense of his actions to make this a non-story. He has failed and has no one else to blame but himself. I hope he at least looks in the mirror before “not losing any sleep” about this issue.

Mike Kukelko
Oak Bluff, Manitoba

Kuchar holds up his end of bargain
Matt Kuchar has nothing to be bothered with (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14). I'm from the South, as is Kuchar, and a man's word is still worth something.

Kuchar and his caddie, David Ortiz, apparently had a verbal agreement for Ortiz, a Mayakoba Resort caddie, to be paid $3,000, with the possibility to increase that amount to $4,000 if Kuchar won the event. Not only did Kuchar keep his word, but he upped it another $1,000, to $5,000.

Kuchar did his part, and more. If there was any issue with the payout amount, it should have been discussed ahead of time. Apparently, Ortiz did not have much faith in Kuchar to do well, despite his hot start to the 2018-19 season and high ranking.

I think Kuchar is right about people getting into Ortiz's head about the amount, and social media hasn't helped any. It's become way too big of a story.

Michael Shedd
Lake City, Ark.

Kuchar Fan Club loses a member
I am very disappointed in the attitude that Matt Kuchar has taken toward the payment of his looper after Kuchar’s victory in Mexico (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14).

Kuchar had a tremendous opportunity to make a profound statement about how the 1 percent can contribute to the health, welfare and future of the poor. You would never see Palmer, Nicklaus, Trevino or Player treat his caddie the way that Kuchar did.

Kuchar is a multimillionaire at age 40. He and his family lack for nothing. Yet, when a Mexican caddie helped him win a tournament in which the first prize was $1.296 million, he failed to realize the severity of his mistake. He even said on Twitter that the amount exceeded what he originally had agreed to give his caddie.

Kuchar doesn’t get it. Shame on him for living in a bubble.

He just lost one of his loyal fans.

Bob Kennedy
St. Catharines, Ontario

A deal’s a deal, so end of story
I disagree with reader Blaine Walker’s opinion about Matt Kuchar (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14).

Kuchar and his caddie obviously made an agreement before the tournament started, and now that Kuchar won, the poor caddie wants more. That’s not the way it works.

If I bought 1,000 shares of Apple stock and that day it went up a dollar and I sold, collecting my $1,000 gain, I can’t complain the next day when it goes up $10 a share. Actually, I can complain, but that doesn’t mean that I am owed $10,000.

This is not the regular caddie who travels with Kuchar each week, hoping for a great payday. It’s someone who obviously is very good at what he does, helped Kuchar a lot and got paid for it.

End of story. Actually, it shouldn’t have been a story at all.

Scot Mulholland
Tucson, Ariz.

Tip as you see fit
There are two sides, maybe more, to the Matt Kuchar story (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Feb. 14).

It appeared as if he and his caddie made a deal on Tuesday of tournament week at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. So, Kuchar wins the thing and the caddie gets the $3,000 fee plus another $2,000, and someone is upset that he did not get closer to $100,000. Why is this an issue, other than with Kuchar and the caddie?

The amount of a tip that you leave in a restaurant is your business. I see this as nothing more than that.

Bob Geismar
Boca Raton, Fla.

Hollywood’s last act
Regarding Alex Miceli’s commentary (“Tour tosses bone to Tiger but jilts dozens,” Feb. 14): Since 1926 the former Los Angeles Open has held a qualifier for anyone to get in and possibly live a Hollywood dream. What a movie that would make.

Now, no more qualifier. Gone.

Rod Elisha

Well, now that you mention it …
Hmmm. . . . Does the whining of players regarding the changing status of the Genesis Open sound like those of us whining about the cost of “public” golf? (“Tour tosses bone to Tiger but jilts dozens,” Feb. 14).

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.

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