So said the oily Gordon Gecko as played by Michael Douglas in the 1987 Oliver Stone directed film Wall Street.
Apropos of that, I present the following article written by Jason Owens and presented on Yahoo sports (though the link I’m providing is on AOL.com:
Matt Kuchar defends paying caddie $5000 on $1.3 million win: I “don’t lose sleep over this”
I’m completely bewildered and, I must say, enraged by this article.
As is stated (and at the risk of giving away everything in the above article), Matt Kuchar played in a tournament, the Mayakoba Golf Classic, and didn’t have his usual caddy with him. According to Mr. Kuchar, the two verbally agreed to a payment of $5000 for the caddie job.
Mr. Kuchar went on to win that tournament and received a prize of $1.298 million dollars.
He paid his caddie $5000.
The caddie, obviously not happy with the very small fee given to him, asked for more and, truth be told, caddies usually receive bonuses when the person they are “serving” win and win big.
After the story reached the news Kuchar offered the caddie $15,000 (or a little more than 1% of the winnings) but the caddie felt even that was an insult. He asked for $50,000, or a little less than 4% of Kuchar’s winnings.
Kuchar refused and, according to the article, he feels the matter is now closed. From the article:
“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.”
I know there will be those who say: Well, if they had an agreement, the caddy should just shut up and accept what he got. However…
Golf.com notes that $3,000 for a week on a bag for a club caddie like Ortiz would normally be considered a generous offer. But that figure wouldn’t include a payout bonus and win bonus that generally comes with handshake deals.
So, dear friends, while Mr. Kuchar’s offer was indeed generous, it is common for golfers who win to then sweeten the caddie’s pot and give them payout bonuses or win bonuses, something Kuchar didn’t do until this story received airplay. (POSTSCRIPT: I have since learned that it is not uncommon for caddies to receive up to 10% of the winning pot from golfers, though granted this is often offered to “regular” caddies who are long term with their golf pro. That being the case, the “regular” caddie could have been in line for a bonus of up to $130,000)
The story ends with this whopper:
According to Golf.com, Kuchar is 10th on the PGA career earnings list with more than $46 million.
A man who has made $46 million in his career (even assuming this past win of $1.3 million was “all” he made up to that point in the year) feels it is appropriate to give a caddie $5000, an admittedly decent amount for a week’s worth with pro golfers, but then feels the man deserves nothing more… even when he wins a very big prize at the end?
As I said before, if he were to accede to the caddie’s demands (which he clearly has no intention of doing) and give the man $50,000 for that week’s worth -a fabulous amount!- that still amounts to less than 4% of Kuchar’s earnings for that week.
And if he felt that was too much, couldn’t he have gotten together with the caddie before this story blew up and worked out some kind of arrangement? If he was willing to go to $15,000, why not come somewhere between that amount and $50,000? Why not take the nicer path before you come off looking like a greedy fool?
Bear in mind, while it was certainly Kuchar’s skills that won him the tournament and he is undoubtedly entitled the winnings, the caddie was right beside him the whole way and it is my understanding caddies do more than just carry around the golfer’s bag. They are known to offer advice, keep track of information regarding the individual holes, and are often a sounding board regarding how to take on a hole.
Whether this was the case here is unknown to me, but I doubt the extent of the caddie’s involvement was limited only to carrying those bags and giving Kuchar club X or Y whenever he said he needed it.
Further, Kuchar’s final quote in the article, of “not losing sleep” over this situation doesn’t do him any favors as well.
If it was his intention to come off as a greedy fool, he certainly accomplished his mission, IMHO.
POSTSCRIPT PART DEUX: Written by Ralph Ellis and presented on CNN:
Matt Kuchar says he’ll apologize to caddie and pay remainder of the $50,000 he requested
So, after a few days of generally very bad news, the headline says it all: Matt Kuchar will do the right thing and give the caddie what he requested.
Mr. Kuchar, to his great credit, issued a press release that seemed very sincere in acknowledging he re-read his comments on this subject and felt it made him look very bad (which it did) and that he isn’t like that guy. So, he’s giving the man what he requested, which I’m assuming is $45,000 which will supplement the $5000 he already gave him.
The picky part in me notes that, as I stated above, it is “usual” for golfers to offer 10% of their winnings to caddies and this would mean the man may have been owed up to $130,000.
However, and as I also stated above, in all fairness this individual was not Kuchar’s usual caddie. He likely did less for Kuchar than the usual caddie would have done, ie offering advice on holes, clubs to use, etc. and likely was more of a club holder/mover.
So while the amount still feels a little light, the reality is that the man was asking for $50,000 for his work and he’s getting what he asked for AND an apology from Mr. Kutchar.
Case is closed.