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Matt Wallace has vowed to mend his ways in the wake of criticism he received following an incident with his caddie, Dave McNeilly, at the recent BMW International Open.
Wallace, 29, was widely condemned on social media for his behaviour towards McNeilly in the final round of the tournament in Munich just over a week ago. That was the latest high-profile incident involving Wallace in recent months.
He was compelled to apologise for his “petulance” during the final round of the British Masters at Hillside, then drew criticism from Sky Sports’ former major champion Rich Beem during the US Open at Pebble Beach.
Having had time to reflect, the current Race To Dubai leader has said that he wants to prove that he’s a nice guy – starting with this week’s Irish Open in Lahinch, where McNeilly will again be on his bag.
“I spoke to Dave straight away after we finished on 18 and we spoke about the situation,” Wallace the Irish Independent.
“I said let’s not let this affect us going forward because he wasn’t happy with how he performed as well, so I said let’s move on from this, are we good? And he was, like, absolutely. So we hugged it out and moved on.
“The two times I’ve been in with a chance to win tournaments I’ve reverted back to how I used to win tournaments and that was to be intense, pretty much too much over the top.
“I used to do that on my own whereas now I’ve got a caddie and stupidly I’ve probably blamed him where I need to take full responsibility for what I did there – and I know that. It’s something I am working on.”
He added: “I’m not proud of how I dealt with that situation and I have definitely addressed it and moved on. Just because I haven’t said anything on social media doesn’t mean I haven’t addressed it with my team.
“A lot of the bad stuff I’ve done on TV has been all reactive. On the 15th (in Munich) I thought I’d hit a good shot and it went long, then I reacted straight away by throwing the club on the ground and you just can’t do that when you’re in the limelight and people are watching you and you want to set an example.
“I’ve thrown clubs in the past and no-one has picked up on it and it’s just because I’m number one on the Race to Dubai and 24th in the world that people see it a bit more.”
Englishman Wallace added that his parents gave him a dressing-down for the way he behaved in Germany
“They said there’s a few people out there that don’t like seeing you talk to Dave in the way that you did and I’d be the first to say sorry to Dave,” he said.
“I actually haven’t seen it but I’ve spoken with Dave and my team and Keith Pelley as well. I’ve actually seen him a few times over the last year or two talking about my future and this time it was more about controlling my emotions, what do I want to be perceived as on the European Tour?
“I want to be an ambassador, so having this bad news about how I reacted is not how I want to be perceived.”
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