Matt Kuchar issues apology for caddie payment row in Mexico
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 15/02/19 11:11pm
Matt Kuchar has promised to pay David Ortiz "the full total he has requested" in a bid to put an end to the controversy over his payment to the local caddie in Mexico.
Kuchar has been widely criticised for paying Ortiz just $5,000 for a week's work on his bag after he collected his first PGA Tour win in four-and-a-half years at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, for which he earned $1,296,000.
Traditionally, a caddie will be paid 10 per cent of their player's earnings for any tournament, but Kuchar had already agreed a fee for the week at El Kamaleon with Ortiz ahead of the event as the American's regular bagman, John Wood, was unavailable.
Earlier this week, Kuchar responded to the ongoing row over the payment by confirming he had paid Ortiz, known as "El Tucan", a cash sum of $5,000 while insisting his offer to extend the fee to $15,000 had been refused.
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Kuchar told The Golf Channel: "It's kind of too bad that it's turned into a story. I really didn't think it was a story because we had an arrangement when I started. I ended up paying him $5,000 and I thought that was more than what we agreed upon.
"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."
But after completing his first round at the weather-delayed Genesis Open, Kuchar issued a statement in which he apologised for "marginalising David Ortiz and his financial situation" with his comments, and he vowed to contact the caddie and agree to his preferred fee, although Kuchar did not reveal what the final payment would amount to.
Kuchar also announced that he would be making a substantial donation to the charities involved in the Mayakoba Golf Classic, and admitted he should not have let the matter drag on for over three months.
The statement read: "This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse. 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.
"My entire Tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity. 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 tonight, 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.
"I never wanted to bring any negativity to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. 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 Cancún.
"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. Golf is a game where we call penalties on ourselves. I should have done that long ago and not let this situation escalate."