Matt Kuchar apologised and vowed to pay his substitute caddie David Giral Ortiz in full amid criticism.
After his first round at the Genesis Open on Friday, Kuchar issued a statement where he apologised and said he would be making full payment of the amount Ortiz requested.
Kuchar had originally paid him $5,000 following his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November.
“This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse,” Kuchar wrote.
“They made it seem like I was marginalising 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.
“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 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, who ended a four-year victory drought at the Mayakoba Classic, said he and Ortiz agreed to a $3,000 payout for that week with a potential bonus that could total $4,000. Kuchar confirmed he paid Ortiz $5,000, as well as offering him an extra $15,000 – which Ortiz turned down.
However, Kuchar earned $1,296,000 for the victory, which would have equalled a bonus of up to $129,600 – a 10 per cent bonus typically awarded to winning caddies. Ortiz said he was seeking $50,000 for his efforts, which Kuchar now promises to pay.
“I’ve had multiple conversations with Matt to know how devastated he is by this,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told ESPN. “And candidly, how devastated I am for him that this has happened. I also know enough to know that he has been really thoughtful to know where things are at now and how to make this right, which is in the process of happening.”
The nine-time tour winner added: “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.”