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Mighty Matt Kuchar

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Matt Kuchar isn’t a fan favorite on Tour because of exuberantly combative fist pumps like we see from Tiger Woods. And he’s not a fan favorite because of dominating, record-shattering performances like we’ve seen from Rory McIlroy.

The always smiling Kuchar is a fan favorite for a much simpler reason. “Mighty Matt” genuinely loves the game of golf and is grateful for everything around him.

“This is such an amazing feeling,” Kuchar said after winning the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village this weekend. “This never gets old. To have Jack Nicklaus congratulate me is a real treat.  This is as special as it gets.”

And the Tour’s “Smiling Assassin” is proving that nice guys do finish first.

Click here to photos of the clubs Kuchar used to win the Memorial.

Kuchar hasn’t missed a single cut in 14 events this season, and only missed one cut in 22 events last year.  Since 2010 — the year he ranked first in scoring average and was the Tour’s money leader — he’s notched a Tour best 35 top-10 finishes.

Kuchar’s victory at “Jack’s Place” was his sixth career Tour win, and second of the season – including his February triumph at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.  Throw in Kuchar’s two previous victories: the The Barclays in 2010 and 2012 Players Championship, and he’s quietly building quite an impressive resume that makes it seem likely that a major championship could be next.

But not so long ago Kuchar was barely noticeable on Tour.  Two years after his rookie season, the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion lost his Tour card and competed on the Nationwide Tour to regain his playing privileges. It taught Kuchar valuable lessons, the first of which was learning to deal with adversity.

“I wasn’t going to let [losing my Tour card] bother me,” Kuchar said. “I think some guys look at it as an insult. Some guys it bothers. Some guys don’t recover. I knew this is where I belonged. I was just going to say I was going to do my job down there and get back out here. So I look back at it and a lot of things came out of it.”

You never see Kuchar lose his temper on the golf course. You never see Kuchar brooding, throwing his clubs, cursing after a poor shot, or looking confused or angry or lost. You only and always see Kuchar smiling, even in the face of adversity.

Instead of becoming one of the Tour’s “whatever happened to” players, Kuchar became a model of consistency — in large part because he maintains his composure, is patient and plays smart.  As Kuchar himself once said,

“Golf will beat you up. You don’t need to help it by beating yourself up.”

During this time Kuchar also decided to overhaul his swing.

“I love that golf is strictly performance based, and I hadn’t performed well enough,” Kuchar said of going back to the Nationwide Tour.

So Kuchar worked on developing a more consistent swing he would be comfortable with and confidently rely on. A flatter one-plane swing taught by Chris O’Connell, his teacher since 2006.

Matt Kuchar Memorial Tournament Pappas TheGreekGrind 3

Today the 34-year-old’s swing is widely considered one of the most repeatable on Tour, and often draws similarities to that of Ben Hogan. And with the U.S. Open at Merion this year, the site of arguably the greatest shot in golf history — Hogan’s immortal 1-iron in 1950 — Kuchar hopes the similarities run even deeper. Hogan was also 34-years old when he won his first major.

But perhaps the greatest lesson that came out of Kuchar’s time on the Nationwide Tour was learning just how much he loves the game and how grateful he is for all it’s given him.

“I love the game,” Kuchar said in a 2010 press conference. I love practicing. I love everything about it. I love having chances. And even when the chances don’t go your way, I think it makes you tougher, makes you stronger.  If you don’t get beaten up by it, if you keep on stepping forward, all those close calls, they’re going to make you better for opportunities in the future. It’s fun. I have a great time out here. I enjoy life as a professional golfer. I think it’s a great life. And I feel awfully fortunate.”

Matt Kuchar Memorial Tournament Pappas TheGreekGrind 1

Sunday evening after the Memorial Kuchar candidly admitted there were a couple things missing from his pedigree when the season began. One was winning multiple times in a season. He can check that off his list. The other? A major championship.

Kuchar is known for smiling big and often, and for good reason.  But if he can win the U.S. Open in two weeks at Merion, Kuchar will also be known for winning big and often.

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Anita Southwell

    Jun 12, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Matt Kuchar is a jolly player. He is also a polite man. As a golfer he is also successful person. In this week he has won the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village. All the best.

  2. Ronald Montesano

    Jun 4, 2013 at 7:14 am

    “Who wouldn’t be happy making millions of dollars playing golf every week. I know I would!”

    Some folks aren’t, believe you me. The pressure, the physical,emotional and intellectual demands to keep up, the vagaries of the game that spin a putt out of the hole and bound a ball into the rough…these add up. What Kuchar has is an inner peace (hackneyed, I know) that allows him to pass through difficult runs. Having wealthy parents from the start probably helped, too.

  3. Troy Vayanos

    Jun 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    You’re spot on Pete, Kuchar’s demeanour on tour is second to none. He’s living the dream life for most of us and it shows on his face.

    Who wouldn’t be happy making millions of dollars playing golf every week. I know I would!

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: ColoVista Golf Club in Bastrop, Texas

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member Austincountyag, who takes us to ColoVista Golf Club in Bastrop, Texas. In his description of the course, Austincountyag tells us how it’s a tale of two very different nines at ColoVista.

“The course is usually in decent to great shape, and for the price, it is very hard to beat in the greater Austin area. The front nine is a links type of layout, while the back nine provides dramatic elevation changes as the holes wind through pine trees along the Colorado River.”

According to ColoVista Golf Club’s website, 18 holes during the week will cost $40, while the rate rises to $50 should you want to play on the weekend.

@Omstar114

@VisitsBastropCo

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Podcasts

TG2: Stacks of Kuchar jokes | What irons would you have reissued?

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Danny Lee has some SWEET Mizuno MP-32 in the bag and it makes us ask the question, “What irons would you want reissued?” But before that we have to make a bunch jokes about the Matt Kuchar/El Tucan situation.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Courses

Match Play: 10 most romantic golf destinations

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Golf is usually a game for four but there are times when two is just the right number. When you want to get away from it all with your favorite partner, here are the 10 best places for a perfect match of luxury resort and world-class golf.

The Resort: Villa Del Palmar Loreto Resort – Loreto, Mexico
The Course: TPC Danzante Bay (Rees Jones)

Villa Del Palmar Loreto

#17 at TPC Danzante Bay

Located on the Monterrey Peninsula, Villa Del Palmar features stunning beaches, snorkeling, walking trails and a top-level spa. Jacuques Cousteau spent weeks at time enjoying the amazing array of marine life of Danzante Bay. The golf course is one of the most scenic anywhere, especially the par-3 17th.

The Resort: Primland Resort – Meadows of Dan, VA
The Course: Highland Course at Primland Resort (Donald Steel)

This mountaintop resort on the Virginia/North Carolina border combines European sophistication with Southern hospitality.  Offers a wide variety of outdoor activities including riding and sporting clays. Bathrooms feature tubs big enough for two. The course is challenging for any skill level and has gorgeous mountain vistas.

The Resort: Adare Manor – Killane, Ireland
The Course: The Golf Course at Adare Manor (Robert Trent Jones, Sr./Tom Fazio)

You’ll feel like a resident of Downton Abbey the moment you enter the gates. The stately home was recently renovated by Irish magnate JP McManus and features some of the most luxurious rooms in all of Europe. The newly renovated course rivals Augusta for its perfect conditioning. Will definitely host a Ryder Cup.

The Resort: Four Seasons Lanai – Lanai, HI
The Course: Manele Golf Course (Jack Nicklaus)

The smallest Hawaiian island is home to a 5-star resort with lush grounds, perfect beaches and award-winning restaurants. Be sure to take a walk to Sweetheart Rock at sunset. The Manele Golf Course is both majestic and subtle, in many ways the Golden Bear’s best design.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico
The Course: TPC Dorado Beach East Course (Robert Trent Jones. Sr/Robert Trent Jones, Jr.)

Every detail is taken care of at Dorado Beach, the gold standard resort in Puerto Rico. Book a couples massage at the spa; in fact, plan to spend a full day there. You won’t want to leave. The golf course has hosted the PGA tour when it comes to the island, and probably still should be. A classic RTJ/Rockefeller collaboration.

The Resort: The Manor House at Fancourt – George, South Africa
Golf Course: The Links at Fancourt Country Club (Gary Player)

Fancourst is one oft he most exclusive destinations on the continent and the Manor House offers the highest level of comfort and service on the property. Beautifully appointed rooms and old world charm are the hallmarks of Fancourt. Did I mention that each room has a personal butler? There are several course on property but Player’s Link design is a masterpiece.

The Resort: Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf Resort & Spa – Los Cabos, Mexico
The Course: Quivira Golf Club (Jack Nicklaus)

Set atop a hill overlooking the Pacific, Pueblo Bonito has a modern sophistication and a knack for anticipating your needs. Guests are eligible to visit the other Pueblo Bonito resorts in Cabo for dining and dancing. Plenty of ocean views on Quivira course and have a complementary tequila shot before you play the par-4 4th. You’ll need it.

The Resort: Inn at Perry Cabin – St. Michaels, MD
The Course: Links at Perry Cabin (Pete Dye)

This charmer was featured in the movie “The Wedding Crashers”. Quaint colonial buildings contain all the modern comforts. Go sailing, visit the spa and sample from their extensive wine collection. The new course has all the beauty and torture you would expect from a Pete Dye layout.

The Resort: Gleneagles Hotel – Perthshire, Scotland
The Courses: Kings Course (James Braid)

Playground to rich and powerful as well as host to the Ryder Cup, Gleneagles has a reputation for perfection and it delivers. Tennis, riding, shooting and falconry will have to feeling like royalty. The Nicklaus Centenary course hosted the Ryder Cup but the Kings Course is pure Scotland.

The Resort: Chateau du Coudreceau – Loury, France
The Course: Chateau du Coudreceau (Arnold Palmer Design)

Want to be alone? Rent this magnificent chalet, which only hosts one quest party at a time. You’ll get used to having a full staff and planning your custom menu for every meal. And Paris is just an hour away. The golf course only has 14 holes but you can route it to to play as many as you like, and you even choose your own daily pin placements.

 

 

 

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