PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — PGA Tour pro Matt Kuchar, criticized by golf fans for not paying his fill-in caddie an industry-standard 10 percent after winning a tournament in November, apologized Friday and said he wanted to make amends, Golf.com reported.
After play was suspended in the second round at the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club, Kuchar said in an official statement Friday that his earlier comments in a Golf.com interview were "out of touch" and "insensitive." Kuchar apologized and said he plans to immediately resolve his issue with the caddie, ESPN reported.
Earlier this week, Kuchar defended the $5,000 he paid David Giral Ortiz after winning $1,296,000 at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico. After Kuchar won the event, Ortiz had requested $50,000, ESPN reported. By industry standards, Ortiz could have expected to be paid approximately $130,000.
In an interview with Golf.com on Wednesday, Kuchar, 40, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, said he thought "Someone got in (Ortiz's) ear."
“I was very clear and very upfront on Tuesday (of the tournament week in Mexico),” Kuchar told the website. “And he said, ‘OK.’ He had the ability, with bonuses, to make up to $4,000.”
Kuchar confirmed reports he told Ortiz he would pay him $1,000 if he missed the cut, $2,000 if he made the cut, $3,000 if he had a top-20 finish and $4,000 if he finished in the top 10, ESPN reported.
"The extra $1,000 was, 'Thank you — it was a great week.' Those were the terms. He was in agreement with those terms," Kuchar told Golf.com. "That's where I struggle. I don't know what happened. Someone must have said, 'You need much more.'"
Kuchar struck a much more conciliatory tone in his Friday statement.
“I plan to call David tonight, something that is long overdue, to apologize for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested,” Kuchar said. “My entire Tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity,” he continued. “In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or the expectations I’ve set for myself.”
Ortiz, 40, is a regular caddie at the Mayakoba Resort near Cancun, ESPN reported.
"Matt is a good person and a great player,'' Ortiz told Golf.com through a translator. "He treated me very well. I am only disappointed by how it all finished.''
Statement from Matt Kuchar pic.twitter.com/fZWsK8RjzE— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) February 15, 2019
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