With the PGA TOUR set to resume its 2013-14 season the first week of January, PGATOUR.COM is previewing the top 30 players to watch heading into the new year. We'll count down one a day in December until we unveil our No. 1 player to watch on Dec. 30, the Monday of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Check out this preview of No. 10 Matt Kuchar and join the discussion below on how you think he'll perform in 2014. Click here for more on the top 30 players to watch in 2014.
NO. 10 PLAYER TO WATCH: MATT KUCHAR
2014 OUTLOOK: Matt Kuchar has long been a quality player, but his resume improved considerably last year with his first multiple-win season. He'll be looking to take the next step in 2014 and become the kind of force in the majors we've expected him to be since he tied for 21st at the Masters as an apple-cheeked 19-year-old amateur. There were a few bumps early in his career as Kuchar lost his card but the progression over the last five years has been steady. Kuchar built on 2012's PLAYERS win with his first World Golf Championships title at the Accenture Match Play Championship last year while also winning at the Memorial Tournament. Oddly, though, for such a steady performer, only five of his 27 top-10s over the last four years have come at the majors, most recently last year's tie for eighth at Augusta National. Finding a way to peak at the right time will be key. -- Helen Ross
THUS FAR THIS SEASON: Kuchar has played twice this year -- once in a PGA TOUR event and once at the ISPS Handa World Cup. He tied for seventh at The McGladrey Classic and finished fourth individually at Royal Melbourne, partnering with Kevin Streelman for a second-place finish in the team event.
Fantasy stud and a road warrior as compared to his ilk. In his last four seasons, he has 37 top-10s and another 30 top-25s. Plays just about everywhere and has overcome a statistical argument that suggests that he's suited only for shorter, tighter tracks. -- Rob Bolton
|ON THE MARK
Matt, a.k.a. Mr. Consistency, is a tremendous player who is able to play well on any course under any conditions -- and that in my opinion is his greatest attribute. Matt has made refinements to his swing and has leveled off his body action which has brought added control. He typically does not, however, dominate in any statistical category but he dominates in the one that counts -- the score. Thanks to some superb eye-hand coordination he has no real weakness and just plots his way patiently through each tournament eventually making his way to the upper reaches of the leaderboard. -- Mark Immelman
Matt is not blessed with great length off the tee but has every other tool needed. His short game ability and course management is wonderful. He is comfortable playing in high winds and hitting small targets. Sign me up for liking Kuchar’s chances in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links. -- Fred Albers
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Another solid season for Kuchar didn’t go without its bumps off the tee. Kuchar hit just 58.93 percent of his fairways (124th on TOUR), dropping from 65.06 percent (42nd) in 2012, 64.75 percent (52nd) in 2011 and 67.89 percent (39th) in 2010. -- Bill Cooney
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Thomas Bjorn had bogeys to bookend an otherwise stellar second-round 68 that left him one clear of Kevin Streelman at the ISPS HANDA World Cup.
Bjorn had five birdies between his opening and closing bogeys and had a two-shot advantage before dropping a shot late.
"I played really solid today," Bjorn said. "I went out and three-putted the first and it shook me up a little bit but I got it back and just stuck to the gameplan."
After bogeying two of his last three on Thursday, Streelman opened Round 2 with four consecutive birdies to reach 9 under temporarily. He gave away three shots on Nos. 8-9 but got one back on the back nine to reach the clubhouse at 7 under. That was the day's best number until Bjorn signed his card.
Three more shots off the pace at 4 under are Australia's Jason Day and Portugal's Ricardo Santos. Stuart Manley, Hideto Tanihara, Martin Laird and Matt Kuchar finished the round another shot back at 3 under.
In the team competition, Streelman and Kuchar are at 10 under and three clear of Denmark's Bjorn and Thorbjorn Olesen. Just five teams are in red numbers after 36 holes and no others are better than 3 under.
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
This week’s ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf will be held at one of the world’s finest courses – the Alister Mackenzie-designed Royal Melbourne Golf Club – and use a format that will mirror the one that will be used in the 2016 Olympics. Using stroke play – a team’s score will be the combined score of its two participants – also allows players to compete for an individual prize and Official World Golf Ranking points.
A strong field has assembled at Royal Melbourne. Here’s a look at some of the groups to keep an eye on (Note: all times local):
Adam Scott (Australia)-Matt Kuchar (USA)-Matteo Manassero (Italy): Adam Scott, the local favorite, plays alongside a representative from each of the past two World Cup champions. Matt Kuchar teamed with Gary Woodland to win in 2011, while the Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, won the title in 2009. Manassero is representing Italy this week alongside Francesco Molinari. This group also features the top two finishers from last week’s Talisker Masters, also held at Royal Melbourne. Scott won that title by two shots over Kuchar; it was Scott’s second consecutive win after also winning the previous week’s Australian PGA Championship.
Jason Day (Australia)-Graeme McDowell (Ireland)-Jonas Blixt (Sweden): Australia’s other representative, Jason Day, will play alongside the McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, and Blixt, who has won twice on the PGA TOUR in the past 13 months.
Kevin Streelman (USA)-Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain)-Francesco Molinari (Italy): The past two World Cup champions are represented in this group. The United States won in 2011, while Italy won in 2009. All three members of this group are in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, as well.
Ryo Ishikawa (Japan)-George Coetzee (South Africa)-Vijay Singh (Fiji): Ishikawa and Singh got off to strong starts in the fall portion of the 2013-14 schedule. Ishikawa is 17th in the FedExCup standings after making the cut in all three of his starts, including a runner-up at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Singh is 10th in the FedExCup after finishing runner-up at the Frys.com Open; he’s coming off a third-place finish at last week’s Talisker Masters at Royal Melbourne.
Victor Dubuisson (France)-K.J. Choi (Korea)-Hideto Tanihara (Japan): Dubuisson is one of the hottest players in the field, finishing in the top three in his past two starts on the European Tour; he won his first title at the Turkish Airlines Open and finished third at last week’s DP World Tour Championship-Dubai, the European Tour’s season finale. Tanihara won last week’s Taiheiyo Masters in Japan, finishing one shot ahead of teammate Ryo Ishikawa.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. --For the second straight day Matt Kuchar shot a 2-under 68 at Sea Island Golf Club.
The best part of it? Just finishing.
"I'm excited to get back on the couch and watch some guys struggle in these conditions," said Kuchar, who is 4 under through the first two rounds.
Those conditions including wind that whipped between 25 and 30 mph throughout the morning and into the afternoon.
"Last night I can remember trying to get as much golf in before darkness knowing that today's forecast was windy," he continued. "Driving is such a challenge, but I think the most challenging thing of all is putting when you got wind gusting as hard as it is doing right now. And then you throw in some slope and some grain and it gets really testing."
With the course playing 3 strokes over par, Kuchar certainly passed the test.
He hit all but three fairways as well as 14 greens in regulation on his way to three birdies and no bogeys.
"You don't hit a standard shot," Kuchar said. "There's no standard 6‑iron shots. Everything is either held or worked into the wind or knocked down.
"There will be no practicing, no hitting balls, no putting. It is straight back to the couch and enjoy watching guys have to play in these conditions."
PGA TOUR pros joined their wives for the 2013 Wiffle Ball Classic, a humorously-heated battle of husbands and male students from nearby Altama Elementary School against wives and female students. Fans, friends and family congregated at Frederica Academy Baseball Field on St. Simons Island for the game and cookout, which raised more than $20,000 for “Blessings in a Backpack” at the school.
Read Doug Milne's complete recap of the game here and watch a Kuchar highlight below. Leave a comment below and tell us if you think he was safe or out.
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Playing together for the fourth time this week, Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge handed Americans Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar their first defeat by a 1-up score. The win was the only one for the Internationals in the second session of Foursomes competition.
The Internationals won the first hole when the U.S. side made a bogey from the fairway bunker, then two-putted from 58 feet for a birdie at the par-5 fifth to go 2 up. The two teams traded birdies and wins on the next two holes so the Internationals were 2 up at the turn when play was suspended Saturday night. The Americans came back Sunday morning and won the 10th with a par but the Internationals birdied Nos. 12 and 14 to take command -- or so it seemed -- at 3 up. The Americans eagled the par-5 15th to cut into the lead and then de Jonge hit his tee shot at the par-3 16th into the water so the International lead was just 1 up. Kuchar missed a 10-footer for birdie to square the match at the 17th hole, then Els made a 5-footer for par and a halve at the 18th hole to preserve the victory.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Brendon de Jonge. The water-logged shot at the 16th hole notwithstanding, de Jonge continued to prove Nick Price's faith in him was well-founded.
BY THE NUMBERS
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DUBLIN, Ohio -- The American duo of Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar remained undefeated this week, defeating Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama in the final match of the Saturday Four-ball session, 1 up, at The Presidents Cup.
The Internationals were 2 up after the first three holes, thanks to two Matsuyama birdies. But then Woods responded with three consecutive birdies, winning two holes and squaring the match. Both American players bogeyed the 10th to lose the hole but Woods squared the match again with a birdie at the 13th. Kuchar followed with a birdie to win the 14th and Woods won the next hole with an eagle. A Matsuyama birdie at the 16th cut into the U.S. lead but Kuchar birdied the 18th to close out the match. It was the first time this week the Kuchar-Woods duo had been extended to the 18th hole. Woods-Kuchar are 3-0 in their matches this week.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Tiger Woods. His key stretch on the front nine kept the U.S. in the match as Kuchar didn't post his first birdie until the 11th hole. Woods was 6 under on his ball. "This guy's a horse," Kuchar said. "I was along for the ride."
BY THE NUMBERS
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