Matt Kuchar’s caddie speaks: ‘To crucify for one mistake feels wrong’

February 16, 2019

Matt Kuchar’s one-week fill-in caddie, David “El Tucan” Ortiz, has been in golf’s headlines all week. On Friday, Kuchar’s full-time caddie John Wood, who has been on his bag since 2015, chimed in for the first time about the criticism his player has faced.

(Editor’s note: John Wood is a contributor to GOLF.com)

“I don’t understand the need to tear down a guy who has spent his career trying to uphold the game and himself to some pretty high standards. Nobody’s perfect. All we can do when a mistake is made is reconsider, apologize and make amends.

“Matt, his entire family and team have never been anything but generous, inclusive, respectful, and complimentary of me and the job I do for him,” Wood wrote on Twitter Friday night. “I wouldn’t work for someone I didn’t respect, or who didn’t value my opinion. To crucify for one mistake feels wrong.”

Kuchar had come under an onslaught of criticism after Ortiz, his caddie for his win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, told GOLF.com he had received just $5,000 for the week despite Kuchar winning $1.3 million. After Friday’s round at the Genesis Open, Kuchar issued a lengthy apology, noting that his initial reaction had been “out of touch” and that he wanted to make it right by paying out the remainder of the $50,000 that Ortiz deemed fair.

Fellow Tour veteran Zach Johnson came to Kuchar’s defense as well. “After reading the statement attached, there is no doubt in my mind this is the Kuch we all know and love,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “He has clearly been humbled, but his true heart and character surfaces. A high integrity man is one who owns up to their mistakes, learns from them, asks for forgiveness, and takes the necessary steps to change…they are role models. And that is my friend Matt.”

Kuchar finished up his second round at Riviera Country Club at two under, good enough for a share of 35th. The 40-year-old has notched two wins and hasn’t finished worse than T23 in his last six starts.

Matt Kuchar John Wood
In January, John Wood and Matt Kuchar won the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Getty Images