Kuchar to pay temporary caddie in full after row

Matt Kuchar was reportedly heckled during his first round of the rain delayed Genesis Open in California

Matt Kuchar has issued an apology and says he will pay a temporary caddie in full after his victory in the Mayakoba Golf Classic last November.

The American golfer, 40, defended his decision to pay $5,000 (£3,900) to local caddie David Ortiz, who stepped in for regular caddie John Wood.

World number 22 Kuchar collected a winner’s cheque for $1.3m (£1.01m).

Caddies can usually expect to receive up to 10% depending on their arrangement with the player.

Ortiz is reported to have asked for $50,000 (about £39,000), rather than 10% of the first prize.

“This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse,” Kuchar said in a statement after he was reportedly heckled in the first round of the rain-delayed Genesis Open on Friday.

“They made it seem like I was marginalising David Ortiz and his financial situation, which was not my intention. I read them again and cringed.

“That is not who I am and not what I want to represent. In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or to the expectations I’ve set for myself.

“I let myself, my family, my partners and those close to me down, but I also let David down.

“I plan to call David, something that is long overdue, to apologise for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested.”

Kuchar, who said earlier this week he would “not be losing sleep” over the row, confirmed he had paid Ortiz $5,000 and that he subsequently offered an additional $15,000, which Ortiz refused, after the story became public.

According to Kuchar, he and Ortiz originally agreed to a bonus structure which would have allowed Ortiz to make up to $4,000 for the week.

“I never wanted to bring any negativity to the Mayakoba Golf Classic,” Kuchar added.

“I feel it is my duty to represent the tournament well, so I am making a donation back to the event, to be distributed to the many philanthropic causes working to positively impact the communities of Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

“For my fans, as well as fans of the game, I want to apologise to you for not representing the values instilled in this incredible sport.”

Kuchar’s regular caddie John Wood, who was not present in Mexico last November, added on social media: “I don’t understand the need to tear down a guy who has spent his career trying to uphold the game and himself to some pretty high standards.

“Nobody’s perfect. All we can do when a mistake is made is reconsider, apologise and make amends.

“Matt, his entire family and team have never been anything but generous, inclusive, respectful and complimentary of me and the job I do for him. I wouldn’t work for someone I didn’t respect, or who didn’t value my opinion.

“To crucify for one mistake feels wrong.”


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