Friday 18 October 2019

'I read my comments again and cringed' - Matt Kuchar agrees $50k payment in caddie row

Matt Kuchar with Ortiz
Matt Kuchar with Ortiz

PA Sport

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

Kuchar, 40, this week defended his decision to pay 5,000 US dollars (£3,900) to local caddie David "El Tucan" Ortiz, who had stepped in for regular caddie John Wood.

World number 22 Kuchar collected a winner's cheque for 1.3million US dollars (£1.01million) after ending a four-year winless drought and caddies can usually expect to receive up to 10 per cent depending on their arrangement with the player.

Ortiz had asked for 50,000 US dollars (£38,771.50), rather than 10 per cent of the first prize, it is understood.

"This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse," Kuchar said in a statement.

"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 (on Friday night), 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 US dollars and that he subsequently offered an additional 15,000 US dollars, 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 US dollars 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."

PA Media

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