Matt Kuchar believes he has learnt from his dispute with caddie David ‘El Tucan’ Ortiz ahead of his title defence at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
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Kuchar was widely criticised for paying Ortiz just $5,000 (£3,900) for being on the bag during his one-shot victory at last year’s event, where a first PGA Tour victory in four-and-a-half-years saw him collect $1,296,000.
Caddies traditionally receive up to 10 per cent of tournament winnings, far more than what Ortiz received, although Kuchar initially defended his decision before later issuing a public apology.
Kuchar eventually paid Ortiz an additional $45,000 and donated money to local charities, with the world No 22 now looking to put the controversy behind him ahead of his first PGA Tour appearance of the season.
“I’m certainly proud of what I’ve done to make amends with David (Ortiz) and make amends with the community,” Kuchar told Golf Channel. “What they’ve got down here at the Mayakoba is amazing and I never wanted to put any bad light down here because this a special place.
“We all have hardships and do things we’re probably not proud of, but as a dad with two boys you try to make it right and live a life where they actually get to see you be a man and try to do the right things.
“You try to take the hardships as opportunities to learn. You learn a lot more from losses I think than you do from victories. This was one that I look at as an opportunity to grow, to learn from it and to take more opportunities to be more charitable.
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“For those who much is given, much is expected and I failed on that part and I’m trying to do right. I know that I’ve been granted a great life and earn a lot of great opportunities and I want to make sure that I continue to give back and do my share.”