Playing his first competitive round of golf since his local fill-in caddie at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, David Giral Ortiz, expressed his disappointment with his payment in an interview with Golf.com, Matt Kuchar predictably heard some heckling and chiding from the galleries at The Genesis Open.
Despite playing each of the past three weeks, the Kuchar-Ortiz saga escalated in the past few days as both main parties spoke publicly about their pre-tournament agreement and subsequent payment.
Despite a handshake deal in place, Kuchar has roundly been painted as the bad guy by the court of public opinion after only offering Ortiz $5,000 following his victory, which netted the PGA Tour pro nearly $1.3 million.
Playing Riviera Country Club on Friday, Kuchar heard it from the assembled golf fans, but never more clearly than on the iconic par-3 6th hole.
— ADJ Podcast (@adjpodcast) February 15, 2019
“Go low, Kuch, go low!” a fan yelled as Kuchar’s ball came to rest on the left side of the green. “Just not on the gratuity!”
According to Golf.com, that wasn’t the only verbal abuse Kuchar heard.
“When Kuchar missed putts, fans cheered,” Adam Schupak reported. “Some spectators chanted, ‘cheapppppp.’ Others barked, ‘Pay your man!’ One cried, ‘Go Kuch! I always root for the villain.'”
Whether it was the heckling that got to Kuchar or a guilty conscience, he released a statement in the minutes between the completion of his first round and the beginning of his second round that admitted he made comments that were “insensitive” and “out of touch.”
Statement from Matt Kuchar pic.twitter.com/fZWsK8RjzE
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) February 15, 2019
“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,” Kuchar’s statement read. “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, 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.”
Kuchar also pledged to make a donation to the Mayakoba Golf Classic to be distributed to their charitable efforts. He concluded by apologizing to his fans for allowing the situation to escalate.