Golf Talk Live - Matt Kuchar Transcript Segment 1
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.
YEAH THANK YOU. IT WAS A BUSY DAY, BUT A GOOD DAY.
IT WAS HOT OUT THERE TODAY.
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.
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.
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.
HOW, HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU PLAYED EAST LAKE, QUITE A BIT?
I'VE PROBABLY PLAYED 30 OR 40 ROUNDS THERE, SO, KNOW IT WELL, AND, AND HOPEFULLY IT WORKS OUT LIKE THIS WEEK WORKED OUT.
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.
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.
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?
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.
NOW WHEN YOU SAY TRAVELING ON YOUR OWN, IS IT JUST YOU? ON THE ROAD
WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT?
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.
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?
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.
YOU COULD PROBABLY ASSOCIATE WITH SOME OF CHRIS DIMARCO'S SUCCESS AT THE MASTERS.
HAVING BEEN THROUGH WHAT YOU WERE
DID YOU TALK ABOUT IT WITH HIM?
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.
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.
IS IT AS MUCH FUN TO PLAY NOW WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING FOR PAY AS IT WAS WHEN YOU WERE PLAYING AS AN AMATEUR?
ABSOLUTELY, I GOT CAUGHT UP AT GREENSBORO THINKING ABOUT THE PAY PART.
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.
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.
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?
I, I DO WISH I HAD THE MONEY. THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT.
TO BUY THOSE TOYS.
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.
THE IDEA BEING THAT GOLF WILL BE THERE BUT THIS WAS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO, TO ENJOY LIFE AS A COLLEGE JUNIOR AND SENIOR.
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.
NOT AT ALL IRONIC THAT PAYNE STEWART WOULD TELL IT LIKE IT IS. (LAUGHS)
I KNOW. THAT'S RIGHT.
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.
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.
It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.
Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”
The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.
“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”
Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.
Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.
Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.
''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''
It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.
''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''
Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.
''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''
After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.
''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''
He's making his first start in the event.
''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.
Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.
''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''
Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.
''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.
The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.
''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''
Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.
''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.
Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.
Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.
John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.
Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years
Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.
He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.
How rare is his missing the cut there?
The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.
The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.
The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.
Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.
Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.