Matt Kuchar Smiles His Way To Victory
by Jeff Skinner
Playing golf as a professional on the PGA Tour can be a tough job. Sure, the pros are playing for millions of dollars on the finest courses in the world and are catered to like prized thoroughbreds. But believe it or not life on the tour can wear you down over the course of the season. To keep your spirits up week in and week out can be a difficult task for some. For Matt Kuchar it’s never a problem.
Kuchar is having a career year. He not only leads the PGA Tour in scoring average, all-around ranking and top tens, he leads the tour in smiles per hole. You can’t watch Kuchar play a hole without two or three smiles. Some pros will go a season without cracking a smile. Kuchar doesn’t wait long to get it going. He starts when he gets out of the courtesy car and doesn’t stop until…well, I don’t think he does stop.
There isn’t a more humble or content guy on the PGA Tour. He was going to call it a season if he didn’t win here and spend time with his family but his win at The Barclays will keep him busy for a few more weeks. Kuchar’s come from behind win has not only put him atop the FedEx Cup points list it has vaulted him into discussion for The Player of The Year.
Kuchar looks to be the same happy kid that had a great year back in 1998 when he tied for 21st at The Masters and Tied for 14th at The U.S. Open. He qualified for those by winning the 1997 U.S. Amateur Championship so he has had some game for a little while. It may have taken Kuchar a few years to hit his stride, he first won in 2002 and then again last year but this season has seen him soar to new heights. He’s earned his first Ryder Cup berth and is easily the most consistent player on the team this year.
More than his professional success Kuchar revels in his life as a family man. He and his wife Sybi play a lot of serious tennis together and they have two young boys that make them look like the All-American family. It’s a picture Kucher cherishes. “I love playing golf,” Kuchar said. “I love practicing. I love everything about it. I love having chances. And even when the chances don’t go your way, I think it makes you tougher, makes you stronger. If you don’t get beaten up by it, if you keep on stepping forward, all those close calls, they’re going to make you better for opportunities in the future.
“It’s fun. I have a great time out here. … I’ve got a great family. I enjoy life as a professional golfer. … It’s a great way to make a living. And I feel awfully fortunate.”
After the next few weeks Kuchar may be riding a higher wave. With The Playoffs and FedEx Cup winding up and his Ryder Cup debut in October we could see Kuchar move to an even higher plateau. Somehow I think he’ll still be smiling no matter what happens.