Of all the surprise stories of 2019 the popularity demise of Matt Kuchar was maybe the biggest. Here's how his year, off the course, went to pieces
Matt Kuchar’s year all began so promisingly. Then all of this happened…
Kuchar started 2019 in a positive mood having just won the Mayakoba Classic, his first PGA Tour title for almost five years.
“I don’t know if I would say weight off your shoulders. More just a real sense of pride and enjoyment. It’s an amazing feeling and I think there is just a bit of a high that goes with it.”
It’s all downhill from here.
Then the El Tucan situation reared its ugly head. The local caddie had accused Kuchar of not paying his fair share after helping him win in Mexico and speculation over the true amount was rife. Kuchar doubled down.
“That’s not a story. It’s wasn’t 10 per cent. It wasn’t $3,000. It’s not a story.”
Kuchar went on record to try and explain himself – but only ended up digging himself deeper into a hole.
“It’s kind of too bad that it’s turned into a story. We had an arrangement when I started. I’ve done enough tournaments and had enough weekly caddies, and I’m very clear about what the payment will be. We had an arrangement Tuesday that David was OK with, and I thought Sunday he was very much OK with it. I kind of think if he had the chance to do it over again, same exact deal, that he’d say yes again.”
Less than 48 hours later, a stark realisation hits Kuchar square in the face.
“This week I made comments that were out of touch and insensitive, making a bad situation worse. They made it seem like I was marginalising David Ortiz and his financial situation, which was not my intention. I read them again and cringed. I plan to call David, something that is long overdue, to apologise for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested.”
Surely that’ll be it for 2019, Matt? Not even close…
Kuchar is embroiled in the non-concession seen round the world…
Matt Kuchar did not have a chance to concede Sergio Garcia's second putt.
Therefore, Garcia lost the hole.
Kuchar told the official he wanted to give Garcia the putt, but that cannot be done retroactively. pic.twitter.com/AJFF8N5J7h
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 30, 2019
His explanation did little to help the situation…
“Sergio had about a 10-footer for par. I made my putt, walked to the back of the green. Sergio I saw missed it. And as I looked up again, I saw he had missed the next one.
“I said, “Sergio, I didn’t say anything, I’m not sure how this works out.” I didn’t want that to be an issue. So I asked [rules official] Robby Ware, I said, “Listen, I don’t know how to handle this, but I didn’t concede the putt, Sergio missed the putt.
“Sergio said, totally his mistake. He knew he made a mistake. I said, I didn’t want that to be how a hole was won or lost. And he said, “Well, you can concede a hole.” I’m not sure I’m ready to concede a hole.
“Certainly I don’t use any gamesmanship, it’s not a matchplay tactic. It was just one of those mistakes that Sergio made.”
But it’s OK, because Matty and Serg cleared things up. Kind of. Actually not at all…
View this post on Instagram
It was nice to run into Matt Kuchar at Austin Golf Club today. A lot has been said about Saturday and most has been misconstrued. We’re all good here. Nothing but respect for each other and it’s time to move on. . . Ha estado bien encontrarme a Matt en el Club de Golf de Austin. Mucho se ha escrito y hablado sobre lo que ocurrió el sábado y la mayoría de ello ha sido malinterpretado. Hay mucho respeto mutuo y el tema está zanjado.Apr 1, 2019 at 1:04pm PDT
Not even halfway through the year and Kuchar is embroiled in his third serious controversy…
Have you ever seen anything like it? 🤪
Matt Kuchar lost his battle with PGA Tour rules officials after contesting a bizarre ruling during the opening round of the Memorial Tournament. ⛳
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) May 31, 2019
“I heard it bounced in there and thought there was potential that it might have broken ground again. That was my question, was that a new pitch now, is that a new potential embedded ball? The rules officials, they know the rules a lot better than I do. I’m not sure, and that’s why we have the rules officials.
“The only reason I did it (called for a second opinion) is just from seeing the video. And not being totally clear on the rules. And they’re tricky enough. The game is tricky and we’re lucky to have great staff out here. And I certainly trust their opinion.”
The media reports of Kuchar’s annus horribilis upset his family.
“I do a good job good or bad not reading my own clippings, not reading any clippings. Just kind of good or bad, I feel like you can get pretty lost pretty quickly following a lot of what’s out there. So I don’t do it.
“I don’t do the social media. However, hearing from my grandmother, the things that she was hearing and talking to me about was really tough. You really want to make your parents proud, your grandparents proud. To see them hear some of the things said about me, was never something that I wanted to put them in that position, and that was very, very difficult.”
“It was a good year, certainly one of my best in a long time if not my best year. I don’t know how else to summarise it. It was just a good year. Certainly getting back in the winner’s circle is a lot of fun. To be able to chalk up two in a year was really nice.”
Kuchar discussing his year on the course, we presume-slash-desperately hope.
He wasn’t finished there. In September he came over and terrorised rules officials at the European Open..
— Ladiestees (@Ladiestees1) September 6, 2019
Did any golfer have a worse year than Matt Kuchar in terms of destroying his reputation? If they did, we’d love to hear it. Let us know in the comments below or tweet us.