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Golf Talk Live - Matt Kuchar Transcript Segment 1

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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)

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