American golfer Matt Kuchar has been accused of short-changing the caddie who helped him break a four-year winless streak.

Local caddie David Girl Ortiz, known as El Tucan, took Kuchar's bag for the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico in November because his regular bagman John Wood was at a reunion.

It did the trick, with 22-under Kuchar winning the title by one stroke over Kiwi Danny Lee - for a reported winner's cheque of US$1.296 million ($1.9 million).

The rumour mill was already questioning what Kuchar paid El Tucan, then former PGA player Tom Gillis brought the situation into the open on social media.

Advertisement

Gillis tweeted: "If Kuchar wins this weekend let's hope he pays his man more than ($3,000) like the last win. ($45 million) in (career) earnings. Could've changed the man's life."

On the general 10 per cent rule, El Tucan was due about $190,000, although those in the know say that a local caddie would not usually be paid that percentage.

But only $3000?

Kuchar, a former world number four, denies it was that low but wasn't giving any more details when questioned in Honolulu, as he was leading the Sony Open.

Kuchar said: "That's not a story. It wasn't 10 percent, it wasn't $3,000. It's not a story. We had an agreement to start the week. He was excited to go to work that week."

The 40-year-old Ortiz hasn't commented on his pay for helping Kuchar break an 89 tournament drought.

"He was definitely my lucky charm," Kuchar said after winning the tournament.

"He brought me good luck and certainly some extra crowd support and did a great job as well. He did just what I was hoping for and looking for."

Advertisement
Matt Kuchar and El Tucan on the 18th green after winning during the final round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Photo / Getty
Matt Kuchar and El Tucan on the 18th green after winning during the final round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Photo / Getty

Many reports at the time assumed that Ortiz picked up a life changing $190,000.

"Not bad for four days' worth of work," was how one writer put it.

El Tucan told reporters he was unlikely to work on the PGA tour, not wanting to move from his two young kids. But he hoped to invest his winnings into a business.

On the final day of the Mexico tournament, El Tucan - an 8-handicapper who doesn't speak much English - told Kuchar: "You need to calm down.

El Tucan added: "(Americans) caddie more technically. I caddie more by intuition".

When Kuchar gave him the trophy to hold, El Tucan cried.

GOLF.com reported he took the bus to work as per usual the next day, working at the course while tournament people attended an event.