Through two rounds at the 2012 Players Championship Harris English was playing by an entirely foreign set of rules.
English, a PGA Tour rookie at the time, was one shot out of the lead and teed off in the next-to-last group with Matt Kuchar. Along the way, he hit a spectator with a particularly wayward drive, made the turn in 42 and signed for a 79.
As he walked out of the scoring room, English’s swing coach Mike Taylor asked what he had learned?
“That nothing bothers Kooch,” English said at the time.
“He learned from that,” Taylor added.
That round also set the tone for a relationship that has grown well beyond the normal Tour player camaraderie. From that chance encounter, English and Kuchar started playing regular practice rounds with each other when they were home at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort, and on Sunday they lapped the field at the Franklin Templeton Shootout by seven strokes.
The duo carded rounds of 64-60-58 to finish at 34 under par. But that isn’t a surprise to Taylor.
“There games match so well. Kuchar is so steady off the tee and that lets Harris just bomb it,” Taylor said. “They also have very similar personalities, both are really laid back.”
Taylor said Sunday’s victory is another step for English, who has two Tour victories in his last 14 starts. Wining is becoming a habit and Taylor, who plans to talk with English on Monday for the annual “team” meeting, said the next step is a run at a major championship.
“He’s getting used to winning,” Taylor said. “He’s realized that if I can get up there I can win.”