01grin to win: kuchar’s big day
about the only knock you could make on matt
kuchar since he returned in 2007 from a stint on
the nationwide tour is that he doesn’t win enough,
only twice since his return—until yesterday at the
players, where he pulled off the biggest victory of
his pro career. the former u.s. amateur champion
with the ever-present smile seems to put himself
in position to win virtually every time he tees it up.
he’s had more than 40 top- 10 finishes in his career,
but the only times he had closed the deal were at the
2002 honda classic, 2009 turning stone resort
championship and 2010 barclays. during the deciding round on the stadium course at tpc sawgrass,
kuchar bogeyed the first hole and didn’t make
another mistake until a three-putt bogey on no. 17.
still, because of a final-hole bogey by martin laird
and a missed seven-foot birdie try by rickie fowler,
kuchar went to the last needing only a bogey to win.
he made par to take the title by two strokes. the
guess here is that the players is the kind of pressure-packed sunday that might lead to bigger things for
kuchar, perhaps in the u.s. open next month at
olympic club, where he smiled his way to low amateur honors in 1998. —Ron Sirak (@ronsirak)
david cannon/getty images
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