Golf Talk Live - Matt Kuchar Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 14, 2001, 4:00 pm
TEASE
THE SMILE IS UNMISTAKABLE AND RARELY ABSENT. IT DAZZLED AUDIENCES IN '97 AT THE U.S. AMATEUR WHEN MATT KUCHAR INTRODUCED HIMSELF TO THE GOLF WORLD. IT'S INTENSITY INCREASED DURING A MAGICAL WEEK IN THE SPOT LIGHT AT THE '98 MASTERS AND BECAME

EVEN MORE BRILLIANT TWO MONTHS LATER WHEN THE COLLEGE SOPHMORE CELEBRATED HIS 20TH BIRTHDAY AT THE U.S. OPEN.

(GALLERY SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MATT)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

NOW MATT KUCHAR'S PASSION IS HIS PROFESSION, AND WHILE THERE HAVE BEEN BUMPS IN THE ROAD, THE 22 YEAR OLD IS, AS ALWAYS, ENJOYING THE RIDE WITH A SMILE. MEET MATT KUCHAR, NEXT, ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

FOR MATT KUCHAR THE GLASS IS HALF FULL. WINNING THE '97 U.S. AMATEUR AT COGG HILL OPENED THE DOOR. IN '98 THE GEORGIA TECH GOLFER CHARMED CROWDS AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL AND THE OLYMPIC CLUB WITH HIS BOYISH GRIN AND INFECTIOUS POSITIVE ATTITUDE.

HE EARNED THEIR RESPECT WITH SUPERB SHOTMAKING, PLAY WHICH LED TO A SHARE OF 21ST AT THE MASTERS AND 14TH AT THE OPEN. FOLLOWING A SUMMER HE WILL NEVER FORGET, MATT PASSED ON MILLION DOLLAR ENDORSEMENT DEALS OPTING FOR TWO MORE YEARS OF

COLLEGE. LAST SPRING HE LEFT ATLANTA WITH A BUSINESS DEGREE, SEVEN INDIVIDIAL TITLES AND ONE PAINFUL NEAR MISS AT THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. HE LEFT WITHOUT REGRETS.

SINCE THEN IT'S BEEN A GLOBETROTTING ADVENTURE WITH STOPS IN AUSTRALIA AND CANADA. ON U.S. SOIL MATT MADE HIS FIRST PGA TOUR CUT AS A PROFESSIONAL IN GREENSBORO. HE THEN MADE GOOD BY FINISHING IN A SHARE OF 17TH.

THE $54,000 PAY DAY, A NECESSARY REWARD FOR A YOUNG MAN WHO WANTS DESPERATELY TO EARN HIS CARD THE OLD FASHIONED WAY AND AVOID Q-SCHOOL.

LIMITED IN THE NUMBER OF SPONSORS EXEMPTIONS HE CAN RECEIVE, HE IS NONE THE LESS DETERMINED TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, AND ENJOY THE RIDE ALONG THE WAY. MATT KUCHAR KNOWS THE BEST IS YET TO COME, AFTER ALL THE GLASS IS HALF FULL.

AND WE WELCOME MATT KUCHAR TO OUR STUDIOS THIS EVENING. GOOD TO SEE YOU. YOU HAD A BUSY DAY TODAY OUT AT THE LOCAL QUALIFYING FOR THE U.S OPEN WHERE MATT SHOT 68 TO ADVANCE TO THE SECTIONALS. GOOD DAY.

MATT KUCHAR
YEAH THANK YOU. IT WAS A BUSY DAY, BUT A GOOD DAY.

JENNIFER MILLS
IT WAS HOT OUT THERE TODAY.

MATT KUCHAR
IT WAS VERY HOT. WE HAD BREEZES ALL, ALL WEEKEND AND TODAY IT WAS JUST STIFLING HOT BUT ANYWAY IT WAS NICE TO MAKE IT THROUGH. SHOT 68 AND ARE MOVING ON TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA AND EAST LAKE.

JENNIFER MILLS
YOU LOVE EAST LAKE, TOO. THAT'S THE COURSE, YOU KNOW, ACTUALLY, AT FIRST WHERE YOU PLAYED TODAY, YOU GREW UP PLAYING NEAR, ON ALIQUOT LAKES.

THAT'S ONE OF YOUR COURSES.

MATT KUCHAR
THAT'S RIGHT. WHEN, WHEN I SAW THIS ROLF FOR THE OPEN QUALIFIERS I HAD TWO HOME COURSES ON THERE FOR ME SO IT WORKED OUT BEAUTIFULLY THAT, THERE, TWO MILES FROM WHERE I GREW UP, MY HOME, I HAD A COURSE FOR THE LOCAL

QUALIFIER AND THEN THE REGIONAL QUALIFIER HAPPENED TO BE UP AT MY SECOND HOME IN ATLANTA AT EAST LAKE.

JENNIFER MILLS
HOW, HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU PLAYED EAST LAKE, QUITE A BIT?

MATT KUCHAR
I'VE PROBABLY PLAYED 30 OR 40 ROUNDS THERE, SO, KNOW IT WELL, AND, AND HOPEFULLY IT WORKS OUT LIKE THIS WEEK WORKED OUT.

JENNIFER MILLS
WE WERE CHUCKLING ABOUT THAT BEFORE THE SHOW, TALKING ABOUT THE LOCKER ROOM THERE AND THE, AND THE FACILITY. IT'S JUST

A BEAUTIFUL SPOT.

MATT KUCHAR
OH IT'S MAGNIFICENT AS I TOLD YOU, I'VE BEEN THERE ABOUT 30 TIMES AND EACH TIME I GO IN THE LOCKER ROOM IT GIVES ME GOOSEBUMPS. I MEAN THE HISTORY THERE, THE BOBBY JONES ROOM, I MEAN

THE CHARLIE YATES ROOM, IT GOES ON AND ON AND, AND I COULD, I COULD SPEND ALL DAY JUST WALKING AROUND LOOKING AT THE ARTIFACTS IN THE CLUBHOUSE.

JENNIFER MILLS
MMM, IT'S BEAUTIFUL. BOBBY JONES HOME RIGHT THERE ON THE THIRD FAIRWAY. NOW AS FAR AS YOUR LIFE NOW AS A PROFESSIONAL, NOT AN AMATEUR, YOU GET PAID TO, TO PLAY AND TO WORK NOW, WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES YOU FOUND AS A PRO VERSUS AS AN AMATEUR?

MATT KUCHAR
AS AN AMATEUR I FEEL MY AMATEUR CAREER WAS, WAS MOSTLY IN COLLEGE AND SO THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE I'VE SEEN IS TRAVELING. I USED TO TRAVEL WITH FOUR OTHER TEAMMATES AND A COACH, SO I ALWAYS HAD A GROUP OF 5 GUYS, 6 INCLUDING MYSELF AND TRAVELING'S A BLAST THAT WAY.

PLAYING WITH YOUR TEAMMATES, PLAYING WITH YOUR BEST FRIENDS, AND YOU GO EVERYWHERE WITH THEM. NOW I'M ON MY OWN. THINGS ARE A LITTLE BIT LONELIER ON THE ROAD, BUT THE FUN THING IS, HOPEFULLY I'LL PICK UP A PAYCHECK AT THE END OF THE WEEK.

JENNIFER MILLS
(LAUGHS)
NOW WHEN YOU SAY TRAVELING ON YOUR OWN, IS IT JUST YOU? ON THE ROAD

WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT?

MATT KUCHAR
FOR THE MOST PART I'VE BEEN ON MY OWN. YEAH. MOM AND DAD, I DIDN'T PAY DAD ENOUGH AS A CADDIE SO HE'S HAD TO GO BACK AND, AND WORK AND, AND MAKE A LIVING FOR HIMSELF, SO, NOW I'M

ON MY OWN. I HAVE DIFFERENT CADDIES ALMOST EVERY WEEK. LUCKILY I'M FRIENDS WITH A LOT OF GUYS OUT ON TOUR, AND I GO OUT TO DINNER WITH THESE GUYS. THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN GREAT TO ME, SO ONCE YOU'RE AT A TOUR STOP, THEY, YOUR, THERE ARE SOME GUYS

THAT YOU CAN GO OUT TO DINNER WITH AND HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH, HOWEVER THE TRAVEL PART AND THE, KIND OF SPENDING NIGHTS ON YOUR OWN IS A BIT LONELY.

JENNIFER MILLS
NOW AS FAR AS THE GUYS, I, I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU THAT NEXT. THE RECEPTION HAS BEEN GOOD? DO YOU HAVE SOME BIG BROTHERS, IF YOU WILL, ON THE, ON THE TOUR? FOR EXAMPLE, ON THE PGA TOUR?

MATT KUCHAR
YEAH, ABSOLUTELY. PROBABLY THE MAIN GUY IS STEWART CINK, BEING A GEORGIA TECH GUY. HE'S REALLY LOOKED AFTER ME FROM DAY ONE. THEN AGAIN OUR LOCAL GUYS, FROM CHRIS DIMARCO TO FULTON ALLEM, DONNIE, DONNIE HAMMOND.

JENNIFER MILLS
YOU COULD PROBABLY ASSOCIATE WITH SOME OF CHRIS DIMARCO'S SUCCESS AT THE MASTERS.

HAVING BEEN THROUGH WHAT YOU WERE

MATT KUCHAR
YEAH ABSOLUTELY.

JENNIFER MILLS
DID YOU TALK ABOUT IT WITH HIM?

MATT KUCHAR
UH, I HAVE NOT. HAVE NOT, BUT WHAT A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR HIM. I REMEMBER TALKING TO ALL OF MY FRIENDS ABOUT, ABOUT HIM, THIS, THIS PAST MASTERS, AND WHAT A GREAT JOB HE DID AND HOW HAPPY WE WERE, WE WERE FOR HIM. CHRIS IS A GREAT GUY.

A REAL, HE, HE KIND OF TOOK ME UNDER HIS WING. BAY HILL WAS MY FIRST PGA TOURNAMENT. I WAS LUCKY I GOT PAIRED WITH CHRIS DIMARCO, A BUDDY OF MINE, AND HE TOOK ME ASIDE A FEW TIMES AND, AND TOLD ME I WAS, YOU KNOW, KIND OF

STEPPING IN THE WRONG PLACES AND A FEW BAD PLACES SUCH AS THE THROUGH LINE. HE WAS THE FIRST GUY THAT TOLD ME ABOUT PROS HAVE A THROUGH LINE ON THE GREEN, TWO FEET BEYOND THE HOLE. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO WALK THERE.

JENNIFER MILLS
OH BOY

JENNIFER MILLS
IN SOMEBODY ELSE'S LINE. SO CHRIS WAS, WAS GREAT AND KIND OF SHOWED ME THOSE ROPES AND, AND STEWART CINK HAS MOVED INTO THAT POSITION. I

REMEMBER LAST, LAST WEEK, OR TWO WEEKS GO IN GREENSBORO WE PLAYED A PRACTICE ROUND, STEWART AND I AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW I MISSED SOME CUTS AND HOW I WAS JUST MISSING THEM BY A COUPLE, AND

STEWART SAYS YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE MISSING CUTS JUST BY A COUPLE, YOU'RE PROBABLY SETTING YOUR SIGHTS ON THE CUT, AND THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE DOING. YOU GOT TO SET YOUR

SIGHTS HIGHER. YOU'VE GOT TO SET YOUR GOALS A LITTLE HIGHER AND THAT WAS KIND OF MY MENTALITY GOING INTO THAT WEEK AT GREENSBORO. I WANTED TO DO MORE THAN JUST MAKE A CUT. I WANTED TO HAVE A GREAT FINISH AND SURE ENOUGH IT WORKED OUT. IT WAS A

17TH PLACE FINISH AND I THINK THAT REALLY HELPED OUT GOING IN WITH A LITTLE DIFFERENT MENTALITY.

JENNIFER MILLS
IS IT AS MUCH FUN TO PLAY NOW WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING FOR PAY AS IT WAS WHEN YOU WERE PLAYING AS AN AMATEUR?

MATT KUCHAR
ABSOLUTELY, I GOT CAUGHT UP AT GREENSBORO THINKING ABOUT THE PAY PART.

JENNIFER MILLS
(LAUGHS)

MATT KUCHAR
I KNOW I GOT DOING WELL ON SUNDAY AND ALL OF A SUDDEN IT WAS LIKE MY NAME WAS ON THE LEADERBOARD. I WAS, MAN IF I COULD MAKE A COUPLE MORE BIRDIES I COULD MAKE A BIG CHECK AND THEN I STARTED TO THINK ABOUT THE THINGS I COULD BY. THE CARS OR THE BOATS

OR WHATEVER IT MAY BE.

JENNIFER MILLS
(LAUGHS)
THE TOYS.

MATT KUCHAR
AND SO THEN I STARTED NOT PLAYING SO WELL. I WAS LIKE MATT, DON'T THINK ABOUT IT. THAT WAS REALLY HARD FOR ME BECAUSE THEN MY MIND KIND OF SWITCHED OVER LIKE WAIT, YOU DON'T

ONLY NEED THE MONEY TO PAY RENT AND BUY STUFF, YOU NEED MONEY TO MAKE A CARD AND SO I, I REALLY HAD THIS BATTLE WITH MYSELF TO NOT WORRY ABOUT MONEY AND JUST PLAY GOLF AND FINALLY, WITH, WITH JUST A FEW HOLES

TO GO I REALIZED MATT, HIT SOME GOOD SHOTS, MAKE SOME BIRDIES, FORGET ABOUT IT. LET THE CHECK COME AT THE END OF THE, AT THE END OF THE TOURNAMENT.

JENNIFER MILLS
IT WAS A GOOD WEEK AND A GOOD SUNDAY FINISH. NOW I WOULD BE REMISS TO NOT ASK YOU, AFTER YOUR SUCCESS IN '97 AT THE U.S. AMATEUR AND THEN TERRIFIC WEEKS, BOTH AT THE MASTERS

AND THE OPEN IN '98, YOU'VE BASICALLY HAD IN YOUR HAND A COUPLE, YOU KNOW, MILLION DOLLAR PLUS ENDORSEMENT DEALS AND OPTED TO, TO PASS ON THAT AND GO BACK TO SCHOOL. ARE THERE ANY REGRETS FOR THAT DECISION?

MATT KUCHAR
I, I DO WISH I HAD THE MONEY. THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT.

JENNIFER MILLS
TO BUY THOSE TOYS.

MATT KUCHAR
(LAUGHING) YEAH.
I PROBABLY GET ASKED THIS QUESTION SEVERAL TIMES A DAY. THE BEST ANSWER I HAVE FOR IT IS, IF I COULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN I'D DO IT EXACTLY THE WAY I DID IT. HAD A GREAT TIME IN SCHOOL, MADE GREAT FRIENDS, AND THE REASON I STAYED IN SCHOOL, THE BOTTOM LINE I

CAME DOWN TO WAS I KNEW THAT IF I'D TURNED PRO I'D REGRET MISSING OUT ON THOSE TWO YEARS OF BEING IN SCHOOL. I KNEW I'D LOOK BACK WHETHER IT BE 5 YEARS, TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD. I

WOULD HAVE WISHED I COULD HAVE BEEN A KID THOSE TWO MORE YEARS AND I DIDN'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN AND I'M REALLY HAPPY WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING RIGHT NOW. THINGS ARE, THINGS ARE GOING WELL.

JENNIFER MILLS
THE IDEA BEING THAT GOLF WILL BE THERE BUT THIS WAS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO, TO ENJOY LIFE AS A COLLEGE JUNIOR AND SENIOR.

MATT KUCHAR
IT, IT WAS FUNNY. I TALKED TO SO MANY PEOPLE ABOUT THIS DECISION. I HAD THAT, THAT TOUGH SUMMER AFTER THE U.S. OPEN. IT, JUST THINGS WERE A WHIRLWIND AND I TALKED TO A LOT OF THE PROS AND EVERYBODY WAS LIKE,

BOY MATT, I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD IF I WAS IN YOUR SITUATION, BUT ONE OF THE FEW GUYS WHO SAID SOMETHING WAS PAYNE STEWART. PAYNE SAID, MATT, PLEASE STAY IN SCHOOL. THE PGA TOUR IS GOING TO BE THERE. IT IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. YOU CAN PLAY FOR 30, 40

YEARS. YOU ONLY HAVE 4 YEARS TO BE A COLLEGE KID. STAY IN SCHOOL AND THINGS WILL WORK OUT GREAT, AND THAT, THAT WAS ONE OF THE FEW GUYS I WAS VERY GLAD HE DID SOMETHING AND SAID THAT TO ME.

JENNIFER MILLS
NOT AT ALL IRONIC THAT PAYNE STEWART WOULD TELL IT LIKE IT IS. (LAUGHS)

MATT KUCHAR
I KNOW. THAT'S RIGHT.

JENNIFER MILLS
ALRIGHT. GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US TONIGHT. WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE CHATTING WITH MATT KUCHAR. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A BREAK. WHEN WE COME BACK WE'LL TALK ABOUT THE MASTERS AND THE U.S. OPEN AMONG OTHER THINGS.
STAY WITH US.

(MUSIC)

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.