Matt Kuchar has apologized for "out-of-touch and insensitive" comments he made on Wednesday regarding his payment of caddie David Giral Ortiz following his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.
Ortiz, a local looper at Mayakoba, filled in for Kuchar's regular caddie and helped the PGA Tour veteran pick up his first win in more than four years. It was a feel-good story until tour pro Tom Gillis tweeted in January that Kuchar had underpaid the caddie affectionately known as El Tucan, setting off a controversy that peaked earlier this week when Ortiz told Golf.com he'd received only $5,000 from Kuchar's near $1.3 million first-place prize in a story that ran on Tuesday. The following day, Kuchar confirmed that figure and said he believed he had been "fair and good."
While drawing some support by explaining his "agreement" with Ortiz, Kuchar's comments only made a messy situation worse. The nine-time PGA Tour winner with more than $46 million in career earnings said, "For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week," and "I certainly don't lose any sleep over this." Kuchar also said it wasn't him, but his agency that had offered Ortiz, who was seeking $50,000 (A typical, full-time PGA Tour caddie would get about 10 percent or about $130,000), an additional $15,000 that the caddie turned down.
But as Kuchar began his second round at the rain-delayed Genesis Open, he released the following statement in which he apologized to Ortiz and his fans, while saying Ortiz "has received the full total that he has requested." Kuchar also pledged to make a donation to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Here's the statement in full:
While it's nice to see Ortiz getting compensated, one still has to wonder what lasting damage this caddie controversy will do to Kuchar's reputation. The popular PGA Tour pro was already heckled numerous times over it during his opening round at Riviera.