2015 Preview: Matt Kuchar
Welcome to the 2015 Golf Preview, where I’ll take a look at selected golfers and examine what to expect over the next twelve months. Today, we look at Matt Kuchar.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost twenty years since we saw the debut of Matt Kuchar in the professional game. Back in 1998, Kuchar was understandably looked at as one of golf’s future stars, as he was in the middle a great run at Georgia Tech and finished as the low amateur in both the Masters (T21), and the U.S. Open (T14) with his father on the bag. Two years later, he turned pro and in 2002, he picked up his first PGA Tour win at the Honda Classic. Everything was looking up for Kuchar, but then it all came to a screeching halt.
Over the next three years, Kuchar played in a total of 72 events and posted just two top-10 finishes while missing 42 cuts, and when he failed to get his tour card back at Q-School, it was off to the Nationwide Tour, where he did just enough to get back to the PGA Tour and over the next two years, managed to retain his card despite zero wins.
It all started to come together again for Kuchar at the end of the 2009 season, where he finished inside the top-20 in his last five starts, which also included a win at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, his first victory on the PGA Tour in over seven years. 2010 was a great year as well, as Kuchar won the money title on the PGA Tour thanks to another win at the Barclays, and played in his first Ryder Cup. Over the last four years, Kuchar has put up an additional four wins and finished no worse than 11th on the money list, becoming one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour.
ESPN’s Matt Kuchar Headshot
ESPN.com has a lot of great golf content, but their player headshots are, shall we say, a little outdated, with Ryan Moore leading the way. As such, I’m introducing the Ryan Moore headshot ranking system. Each player will get a ranking from 1-10, with 10 being the most outdated possible.
Here’s Kuchar’s headshot from ESPN:
Kuchar will turn 37 years old in June, but for as long as I’ve watched him, he’s looked about that age, so it’s really hard to tell just how outdated this photo is.
Why You Should Watch
When you watch Kuchar play, nothing really stands out as spectacular. He doesn’t drive the ball particularly far or even all that straight, although that was much better in 2014, and his iron play really isn’t all that great either. He’s usually a very solid putter, but his game overall is usually pretty bland, which I’m sure has a few of you asking why you should be watching him. Well, outside of the fact that he’s just pretty good in every aspect of the game, he’s oddly fun to watch. The constantly mismatched clothes, which I honestly think he does on purpose, the strange little hitch in his swing and the “Golly gee, Matty” attitude after bad shots always makes me laugh. Then out of nowhere, he drops #TourSauce on everyone:
I’m oddly enthralled with Kuchar and I honestly can’t explain it.
Kuchar in one
The day that Kuchar swears on the golf course is the day that Twitter ceases to exist. “Oh, sugar” was one of the funniest moments of the Ryder Cup and perfectly captured Kuchar and what he’s about.
Can Kuchar win a major in 2015?
If you look back at Kuchar’s history on the PGA Tour, he’s really won everything that you can win outside of a major. He’s won events of smaller and larger scale, and the only thing that’s really left is a major. Players of Kuchar’s quality should have no issues winning a major, but there is one thing that concerns me about his prospects and that’s that he doesn’t hit the ball very far at all when compared to the rest of the PGA Tour and with the courses getting longer and longer with each passing year, it’s going to make it very difficult for guys like Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson to win any tournament, major or otherwise.
You’d be crazy to count him out though, as Kuchar still doesn’t have any obvious flaws in his game, which is a nice thing to have and he should still be looked at as a top contender for any tournament that he enters.