A late addition to the U.S. Olympic team, Matt Kuchar apparently wasn’t even sure what he’d signed up for.
Kuchar thought that the Olympic tournament was a team competition that copied the format of the World Cup event he’d played in previously – with each player competing as an individual, then the top two scores are combined for a team total.
He was finally told otherwise Wednesday during his pre-tournament news conference at the Travelers Championship.
"Now, I may be miss-informed or just don't know. You may have to help me. Is there no team format at all?" he asked.
After then describing his experience at the World Cup, Kuchar added: “That was my initial impression of what was happening with the Olympics, but I’m incorrect on that.”
Indeed, he is.
The 60-player field is competing in 72-hole stroke play, with each individual representing himself and his country. There is no team component – if Rickie Fowler wins, for instance, then he alone receives a gold medal.
The format of the Olympics was announced seven years ago.
“From my understanding,” Kuchar said, “it was supposed to be Bubba (Watson) and Rickie – they were the two highest-seeded Americans. Their combined score I thought was going to be the team part. There is no combination, no team at all? OK.”
Kuchar, one of four Americans heading to Rio, said he was under the impression that he was competing solely as an individual.
“I certainly was never going to be part of the team, or at least when I became part of the team I knew I wasn’t in the top two,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t playing for any sort of team medal. I knew I was strictly there as an individual, and I will be going on an individual.”
Kuchar only made the team after Jordan Spieth announced the day that the teams were finalized that he would be skipping the Olympic Games because of health concerns, so it’s reasonable to assume that Kuchar was not a part of any Team USA meetings.
The men’s golf competition begins Aug. 11 … which may be news to Kuchar.