Kuchar called his comments "out of touch and insensitive....I read them again and cringed."
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Matt Kuchar has changed his tune entirely.
Days after he doubled down on his decision to pay local Mexican caddie David "El Tucan" Ortiz just $5,000 after winning $1.3 million at the Mayakoba Classic, Kuchar apologized for his comments and vowed to pay Ortiz the $50,000 he asked for.
"This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse," Kuchar said in a statement, referring to his interview with Golf.com's Michael Bamberger.
"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.
On Monday, Kuchar defended his decision to pay El Tucan less than 0.4% of his check for winning the November tournament, which was his first victory in more than four years. Standard Tour procedure dictates that a caddie earns roughly 10% of a player's earnings.
“For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week,” Kuchar told Bamberger.
A nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, Kuchar is 10th all-time in on-course earnings with over $46 million.
Here is the full text of the apology:
"This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse. 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. I let myself, my family, my partners and those close to me down, but I also let David down. 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.
I never wanted to bring any negativity to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. 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 apologize to you for not representing the values instilled in this incredible sport. Golf is a game where we call penalities on penalties. I should have done that long ago and not let this situation escalate."
Kuchar shot a three-under 68 in the first round of this week's Genesis Open.