- In November, Matt Kuchar won his first tournament in four years, taking home $US1.3 million in prize money.
- He won the tournament with a substitute caddie, David Giral Ortiz, but paid him only $US5,000 rather than the customary 10% afforded to caddies in a tournament win.
- After receiving criticism from around the golfing world, Kuchar has apologised to Ortiz and vowed to pay him $US50,000 for his time on the bag.
Matt Kuchar will make good with substitute caddie David Giral Ortiz after all.
Kuchar came under criticism in the past week after news came out that he had paid Ortiz just $US5,000 for his weekend carrying the bag at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November 2018. Kuchar went on to win the tournament – his first top finish in four years – and take home the $US1.3 million winner’s share of the prize money.
Caddies are customarily given a percentage of their golfer’s prize money, and when Ortiz’s poor tip became public, the golf world began to turn on Kuchar.
Things went from bad to worse for the 10th-highest earning golfer of all time when he responded by criticism by saying, “For a guy who makes $US200 a day, a $US5,000 week is a really big week.”
Now, Kuchar has backpedaled on his defence, promising to pay Ortiz the $US50,000 he asked for, and issuing an apology.
“I plan to call David tonight when I’m off the course 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 said in a statement.
He went on to apologise for the way he initially responded to the situation.
“This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse,” Kuchar said. “They made it seem like I was marginalizing 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.”
In addition to his payment to Ortiz, Kuchar has also promised to donate back to the Mayakoba Golf Classic, saying he never meant to bring any negativity to the event.
While the debacle was messy for Kuchar, it looks as though things will end with a happy ending. Hopefully, both parties can walk away satisfied, and Ortiz can be on the bag again this year when Kuchar defends his title at the tournament.
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