Kuchar Proves Sum Is Greater Than the Parts


So the critics were all over Matt Kuchar when he didnt leave Georgia Tech at the end of his sophomore season after impressive finishes in the Masters and U.S. Open. The critics, we are to believe, were busy pouring Tabasco sauce on their words after Kuchar won the Honda Classic Sunday.
First of all, who are these supposed critics, anyway? I didnt see their stories in the papers back then, and I dont see anyone fessing up to them now. A lot of people undoubtedly gave their opinions, though none of them worked for this nations daily journals. The stories I recall reading simply mentioned offers of two million dollars (true), and Kuchars decision to stay put (true again).
He was right not to take the money, of course. He really didnt need two million ' his father was very comfortably fixed money-wise, and by staying at Georgia Tech, Kuchar ensured himself of a well-paying job throughout his working career. It would have been the wrong career move for me ' I would gladly have taken the $2 mil ' but then again, I wasnt privileged enough to get a degree from Georgia Tech. So Kuchar refused to gamble with his life by taking the two million and faced the fact that he might have been a bust. The streets are full of insurance salesmen who had one brilliant summer of golf, five summers of making bogeys, and finally a career in the business or teaching side of the game.
Kuchar, though, did it the other way around ' he went to a brain school and got a business degree. Armed with the diploma, he tinkered around for a year or so with a real job. When it became apparent that he would be successful in the office, he then took a flyer on golf as a career. Sundays verdict would indicate that he has made a very wise choice. Had he gone to JacqueStroppe U., the verdict might not have been nearly so clear-cut.
At any rate, Kuchar is building his golf career precisely the right way. He is 23 years old, the ideal time to start. He has been all over the charts with his results, but it looks like he has finally learned how to win.
Methinks the lad has learned the real objective to playing golf ' low scoring. Heaven knows the rest of the game is mediocre. Add up the different parts of his game and there is no particular area where he stands out. The sum isnt there ' unless you talk about just getting the ball in the hole. And in that particular category, young Kuchar has shown a remarkable proclivity for doing the same very quickly.
Consider his results the past two seasons: In 2001, he missed the cut in five of 11 tournaments entered. He finished 68th in another, the National Car Rental in his old hometown of Orlando.
But he finished tied for second at the Texas Open ' whoa! And he finished tied for third in the Air Canada Championship. Those two finishes were enough to merit a careful look-see this year.
This year, he opened the season with a tie for fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii. The next month he was just another palooka, playing four tournaments, missing the cut in one, no higher that T39 in the others.
And then ' wham! ' he wins the Honda against a pretty talented field. Was he just waiting to get back to Florida? Was he waiting for another shot at Bermuda greens? Did he get tired playing four weeks in a row?
Maybe thats it. Check his scores the opening day for each of those four tournaments ' he averaged 69. From there, though, his scores went up each day. His average on Fridays was 71, still quite respectable. But the third day, his average balloons to 75.3. And on Sundays, he was averaging nearly 72. Thats not good when youre trying to beat the rest of the field out of the goodies.
When they get that many in a row ' because I was playing Monday, Tuesday, and half the Wednesday pro-ams, said Kuchar. And for five tournaments (counting the first one in Hawaii), I did that.
I really, at the end, got worn out. At the beginning of the week, I was feeling good. But every time towards the end ' Saturdays and Sundays ' I seemed to play very poorly at the end of my West Coast stretch.
Hey ' he didnt work Saturdays and Sundays at his bank gig last year. Seven-day work-weeks tend to wear you down, especially along about the third or fourth week.
He doesnt rank near the top in driving distance ' 131st on the charts. He is better than average in driving accuracy, 18th, and a little better than average in greens hit in regulation ' 55th.
His putting ' though he had just 10 putts on the back nine Sunday ' needs lots of work. Hes 101st on the tour charts. But magically, his scoring is the best part ' he stands 27th. And all that other stuff can go out the window. You know the tired old saying ' dont paint me pictures, just tell me how many you had on the hole.
Is this just a mirage, a Jump-Up Johnny performance and then back with the herd? Could be. But one thing is for certain ' Kuchar is just winging it now, glad to be here, but certainly not going to starve if he doesnt make it. Just about everyone in golf envies his situation.