Matt Kuchar apologized Friday for what he said were insensitive comments about the caddie he used at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico last fall and said he would pay the $50,000 the caddie requested.
He also said he would make a donation to the tournament to be distributed to charities in the Cancun area.
“Golf is a game where we call penalties on ourselves,” Kuchar said in a statement released by the PGA Tour. “I should have done that long ago and not let this situation escalate.”
Kuchar’s regular caddie couldn’t make the trip to Mexico in November, so he used David Ortiz from El Camaleon Golf Club. Kuchar won for the first time in more than four years and earned $1,296,000.
Ortiz received $5,000.
Kuchar defended the payment — regular PGA Tour caddies typically get 10 percent from the winner — by saying they had an agreement at the start of the week. In an interview with golf.com, Kuchar said he did not understand why there was such a big buzz on social media.
“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really good week,” Kuchar said.
Ortiz had told the website he didn’t expect the full 10 percent typically paid to a full-time caddie, but that he thought it was worth $50,000. He said he sent three emails to Kuchar’s agent, Mark Steinberg at Excel Sports Management, and was offered an additional $15,000, which he turned down because he found it unacceptable.
Now he’s getting his money after Kuchar spent the two days defending the arrangement.
“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 now what I want to represent.”
PGA Tour: Justin Thomas put together enough birdies in a cold rain at Riviera to reach 10-under par and share the lead with Adam Scott when the second round of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles was halted by darkness.
Tiger Woods was 1-under after playing 30 holes. He had a 70 in the morning, a round slowed by four three-putts, and followed a 45-foot eagle putt with two bogeys as the rain got stronger.
J.B. Holmes, who made a hole-in-one when he opened with a 63 for a one-shot lead after the first round, was at 9-under through nine holes.
PGA Tour Champions: Playing partners Sandy Lyle and Stephen Ames matched the course record at 8-under 63 to share the first-round lead in the Chubb Classic at Naples, Fla.
Lyle topped a leaderboard for the first time in 155 career starts on the 50-and-over tour. The 61-year-old Scot won the 1985 British Open and 1988 Masters.
LPGA Tour: American Nelly Korda shot a 5-under 67 to take a three-stroke lead at 12-under 204 over Japan’s Haru Nomura (70) heading into Sunday’s final round at the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Matt-Kuchar-apologizes-pledges-50-000-to-13621731.php.