Kuchar held his own this week at the RSM Classic and has no plans to slow down five years away from being eligible for the PGA Tour Champions
Matt Kuchar loves the talent of current group of rising PGA Tour stars
Matt Kuchar is entering his 25th professional season. He said he’s remained competitive because of his love of the game and desire to win.
- Matt Kuchar won the 2012 Players Championship to highlight his nine PGA Tour titles
- He is the only player to have made the FedEx Cup playoffs every year, a streak that reached 17 years in a row this season
- Kuchar has posted 12 top-10 finishes in major championships, including four in the Masters
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — He’s still here.
The goofy grin when acknowledging fans, the flat backswing, the long easy strides between shots and still, at the age of 45, the birdies when he gets on a roll.
Yeah … Matt Kuchar isn’t going anywhere if there’s golf to be played and fellow competitors to beat.
Kuchar, the former Georgia Tech All-American who burst on the scene with a U.S. Amateur title in 1997, then contended as an amateur in the Masters and U.S. Open the following year, has a way of resurfacing to remind everyone that he can still get the job done.
He shot 65-68 in the first two rounds of the RSM Classic at the Sea Island Club to get into the next-to-last group on Saturday, then weathered an early double-bogey at the par-3 third hole of the Seaside Course and finished with a 69 to drop into a tie for 30th at 10-under-par 202 entering the final round.
Still, Kuchar has logged seven consecutive rounds in the 60s and 11 of his last 12. The smile hardly ever leaves his face but the nine-time PGA Tour winner and the 2012 Players champion said taking joy in playing golf and the thrill of competing are two ageless qualities.
“I love doing it, absolutely,” Kuchar said after the second round. “Golf is one of those kinds of never-ending quests to keep getting better and I’m on that never-ending quest and really enjoying it.”
Matt Kuchar has made every FedEx Cup playoff
Kuchar has a chance to finish the season with three consecutive top-10 finishes. After extending his record streak of appearances in the FedEx Cup playoffs to 17 years and counting in August, he tied for 61st in the FedEx St. Jude Classic and finished outside the top-50 that advanced to the BMW Championship.
Kuchar took a month off, then resurfaced in Napa, Calif., to tie for seventh at the Fortinet Championship. He then tied for second with Camilo Vilegas at the Worldwide Technologies Championship in Mexico, denied a spot in a playoff when Eric van Rooyen drained a walk-off eagle putt at the last to win by two shots.
Fellow Tour players say Kuchar’s hallmark comes down to one word.
“It’s his consistency,” said Kevin Kisner. “He’s been around a long time, he always keeps it in play and gives himself chances.
Will Gordon said one key is that Kuchar rarely changes much about his swing or his approach to the game.
“He’s been doing what he’s been doing for so long that he knows exactly what works for him to have success,” Gordon said. “He does it at a pretty high rate and it’s impressive to watch him do that over time.”
But Kuchar did make one huge change in his life: he moved his family to Jupiter two years ago to take advantage of the tennis facilities and junior tournament opportunities for his youngest son, Carson.
Tennis runs just as deep in Kuchar’s family as golf. His Sybii played tennis at Georgia Tech, where they met, and the two have often competed in mixed doubles tournaments.
That’s not to say he doesn’t miss the Golden Isles vibe.
Matt Kuchar remains sentimental about Golden Isles
“It certainly feels like home,” he said of playing in the RSM Classic, where he’s made the cut in nine of 12 starts. “It’s slightly strange not to have a home of my own here but staying with some really good friends this week and having a good week. I’m seeing a lot of people out and about, that’s kind of fun to reconnect with as well.”
Kuchar said his sons are enjoying the South Florida lifestyle, as well as their tennis.
“We tried really hard to kind of make the junior tennis something that could be competitive and just realized that we needed to be elsewhere to kind of help out the youngest son with some competitive tennis and just some probably higher-level sports,” Kuchar said.
“This definitely feels like home, but the boys are really enjoying being down in Jupiter. They’ve got a good network; they feel like they’re doing all the things they want to be doing. It’s been nice that when I go on the road, I know they’re happy.”
In addition to tennis, Kuchar’s oldest son Cameron might have a golf future. He finished second in a U.S. Open local qualifier in May with a 69 and failed to get out of a 36-hole sectional in Pine Tree, in Boynton Beach.
Matt Kuchar praises current group of young stars
In the meantime, Kuchar has no plans of easing into life on the PGA Tour Champions in five years.
He played in 26 events this season, made 19 cuts and posted six top-10s. He’s still got a knack for playing well on tough courses and conditions where par is a good score (he was solo eighth in the Genesis Invitational, at Riviera) but can mix it up with the younger players when scores go deep, evidenced by his 25-under two weeks ago in Cabo San Lucas.
Kuchar loves nothing better than to go head-to-head against the youngster and beat them. After all, he used to be that kid.
“Every year there’s 200 new kids trying to come out here and compete for jobs,” he said. “Every year you have to learn a bunch of guys’ names. A handful, you can tell are pretty special and going to do some good things out here. We have a nice crop at the moment playing some good golf.”
Matt Kuchar lays low, then wins in bunches
If history says anything about Matt Kuchar, it’s not to write him off.
Kuchar last won in 2019, capturing the Tour’s fall event at Mayakoba, Mexico, then the Sony Open in Hawaii. He had gone five years without winning after a three-year period between 2012-2014 when he won The Players, the WGC Match Play, The Memorial and the Heritage.
After Kuchar tied for 14th at the Masters and tied for 21st at the U.S. Open in 1998 to finish as the low amateur in both, he initially went to work in the financial field. But he eventually was lured back onto the golf course, turned pro in 2000 and two years later won his first event at the Honda Classic.
It was seven long years after that before he won again, but captured two titles, the Turning Stone Championship and The Barclays (a FedEx Cup playoff), in two years.
He began his FedEx Cup streak in 2007 and remains the only player to have qualified for the playoffs every year. Kuchar has 12 top-10 finishes in major championships, including a three-year stretch from 2012-14 where he was eighth or better in the Masters.
Matt Kuchar wants more major at-bats
In the first Masters of that run, Kuchar was tied for the Sunday lead after an eagle on No. 15 but bogeyed the par-3 16th and finished two shots out of the playoff involving winner Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.
Kuchar finished solo second in the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, three shots behind Jordan Spieth.
Every missed opportunity in a major has added to his determination to keep going, entering his 25th professional season. Kuchar has been working hard with teacher Chris O’Connell and said the drive to get better has never left him.
“I’m enjoying the game,” he said. “I’m a believer that you’re constantly trying to get better just chipping away. You get a little bit better, and it goes a long way.”