All-American nice guy Matt Kuchar playfully told the media to “suck it” after clinching the US PGA Players Championship and its $1.7 million (€1.3m) winner’s cheque.
Often touted as a walking ATM for his ability to finish near the top of the leaderboard, the 33-year-old had faced heat for not winning since 2010. Before this week, he had cashed more than $5.5m (€4.2m) since his last win, at the 2010 Barclays, through numerous top 10s but he wasn’t hoisting trophies.
When this was put to him shortly after shooting a two-under-par 70 to finish at 13-under at TPC Sawgrass in Florida — two shots clear of Scotland’s Martin Laird (67) and Americans Rickie Fowler (70), Zach Johnson (68) and Ben Curtis (68) — Kuchar pounced.
“Yeah, you can suck it,” he laughed while celebrating his fourth and biggest US PGA Tour victory. “To come out as the champion is just an amazing feeling. You think of this as one of the strongest fields in golf.
“Walking every day through the champion’s tunnel. I can’t help but stop and gaze at all the photos going through, and to think I’m going to be a part of that with Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd and Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman and David Duval and Tiger Woods, it’s all the best of the best.”
Having rebuilt his swing to a flatter plane in recent years, Kuchar will rocket up to No 5 in the world ranking after the win and was making no apologies for being Mr Consistent. Kuchar earns a five-year exemption on the tour, so he’s likely to be cashing big cheques for quite some time.
“I never wanted to be the guy who won once a year and missed 10 cuts a year. I wanted to be the guy with just a consistent game. I’d like to show up, be playing good and have a chance to win tournaments.”
Australia’s winless drought this year continued, with Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott the pick of the bunch, seven and eight shots off the pace tied for 12th and 15th respectively. Both showed glimpses of brilliance only to struggle on the greens. Of the 72 who made the cut, Ogilvy ranked 56th and Scott 60th in putting.
“I played pretty well all week but I must have been last on the putting stats yesterday,” Ogilvy said. “I was much better today and holed a couple of bomb. If I hit it like I have the past three weeks I can contend in any tournament. I just have to get the ball in the hole better.”
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