Los Angeles - US golfer Matt Kuchar, pilloried for his payment of $5,000 to the Mexican caddie who carried his bag in a victory at November's Mayakoba Classic, vowed Friday to make things right.
In the run-up to this week's Genesis Open in Los Angeles, Kuchar had defended the payment to David Giral Ortiz, even though it was a fraction of what a regular PGA Tour caddie would expect when his boss collected a $1.206 million purse.
While arrangements with caddies vary, regular caddies on the US tour typically get a 10 percent bonus from a winning player.
"This week, I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse," Kuchar said in a statement released on Friday.
"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."
The story gained steam this week after Ortiz gave an interview to Golf.com in which he said he felt Kuchar had taken advantage of him.
He said he didn't expect a 10 percent bonus, but he thought $50,000 would be fair and added he had rejected a belated offer of an additional $15,000 from Kuchar's agent.
In defending the payment on Wednesday, Kuchar told Golf Channel that he was clear in hiring Ortiz that the caddie had the ability with bonuses to make up to $4,000 for the week.
After the victory - Kuchar's first in four years - he bumped that up to $5,000.
"For a guy who makes $200 a day, a $5,000 week is a really big week," Kuchar said - an observation that only sparked more criticism of a golfer who has earned more than $45 million in his career.
"In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or to the expectations I've set for myself," Kuchar said Friday.
"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 apologized for taking so long to reverse course on the matter.
"Golf is a game where we call penalties on ourselves," he said.
"I should have done that long ago and not let this situation escalate."