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'It's given me an opportunity for growth, for self-betterment'

‘It’s given me an opportunity for growth, for self-betterment’

All people want to talk to Matt Kuchar about at the Mayakoba Golf Classic is that payment to caddie El Tucan, so what has the defending champion been saying?
 

The PGA Tour has returned from its short vacation and landed in Mexico where Matt Kuchar is looking to defend his Mayakoba Golf Classic title.

El Camaleon Golf Club was the site of the American’s eighth PGA Tour victory and the first in one of his most successful seasons.

But drama followed when the news broke that he paid his stand-in caddie David ‘El Tucan’ Ortiz just $5,000 despite pocketing $1.3 million for his victory.

One year on and, inevitably, many of the questions put to the defending champion in his press conference were about the now infamous incident. Kuchar simply describes it as “something I’m not proud of”.

He said: “I’ve tried to use this opportunity to learn from mistakes, to grow, to try to learn and be better.

“I’m proud of being able to make amends like I have with David and the community, and certainly very excited to get this week stared to hopefully get off to a good start here.”

Many have questioned whether this did in fact have any real impact on Kuchar as a person or a player. My colleague Alex Perry was chatting to one major winner, who will remain unnamed, at an event shortly after this incident and he said Kuchar’s “Mr Nice Guy mask has finally slipped off”.

Kuchar added: “I think I equate it a lot to team sports. You learn a lot in losses, you learn a lot in hard times.

“Certainly, it’s given me an opportunity for growth, for self-betterment. I try in situations to definitely not make that mistake again, but to be better in so man areas – to try to be more charitable, try to be more giving, try to take more opportunities to do the right things.”

The Mayakoba is Kuchar’s first start of the PGA Tour season as he begins his preparations for December’s Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

Keep up to speed with all the action with NCG on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Joe Hughes

Tour editor covering men's golf, women's golf and anything else that involves the word golf, really. The talk is far better than the game, but the work has begun to change that.

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