MORE INTERVIEWS: RBC Canadian Open interviews
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started. We'd like to welcome Matt Kuchar after a successful 6 under 66 in round one of the RBC Canadian Open. Matt, great play today. Thank you for joining us. If I have my numbers right, this is your seventh start in the RBC Canadian Open and second start here at Glen Abbey, with that, I'll turn it over to you for comments on your opening round 66.
MATT KUCHAR: It was fun to be out here. It was perfect conditions. I feel like last week, conditions were so challenging and so difficult at the British Open to come here and to play golf that is more friendly and more what we're used to the PGA TOUR was great. The conditions are spectacular. The course is in great shape, we had very little wind, good temperature, so it was a great opportunity to shoot. The par 5s are all attainable and birdiable.
I got off to a great start on the par 5s on my back nine, opening nine, so I think I played the three par 5s at 4 under par, so I got off to a great start there and continued on to my second nine. Made a bogey on, I think, the 6th hole. Nearly backed it up with the birdie on 7, and was able to hang on with a couple of par 16s on 8 and 9. So all in all, it was a great day, and kind of fun to be back in some golf conditions where you can look to score on.
Q. You're in the midst much a great year. One of three multiple winners on the year. Coming into the week, are you still riding the wave of momentum? I know you most recently won at Memorial, are you able to kind of bring that week to week with you when you're coming to events like this?
MATT KUCHAR: I feel like my game's gotten to a point where it is good week to week. It's helped to have a couple of wins. It's been a goal of mine for years. This is my first year with multiple wins, so it's been a great feeling. Certainly every week you want to play well. Every week you want to win a golf tournament. I come here looking to do the same. So it's a nice start, but I feel like my game's at a point where I feel like I can show up and play some pretty good golf.
Q. You talked about the importance of the par 5s. Obviously, 18 is known as a famous shot from Tiger, the bunker. I'm just wondering if, come Sunday, you see 16 and 18 being pivotal holes coming down the stretch?
MATT KUCHAR: There is a lot that can happen, certainly more that can happen on 18 with the water around the green. I look at it as every shot counts the same, regardless if it's the 70th hole or 72nd hole we played today. The first hole counts the same amount as the 72nd hole counts. I think it's exciting for fans, for viewers to see a reachable par 5 at the last with some potential risk and reward on 18. I think it's fun for viewership, but as far as pivotal, I think they all count the same.
Q. You were saying earlier you thought the par 5s if you don't at least birdie a par 5, you feel like you're disappointed?
MATT KUCHAR: Yeah, yeah. I think by stroke average will show you, if you make a 5 on a par 5, and you're losing ground on the field.
Q. I asked you outside. As far as Player of the Year goes, you're not really thinking about it now? It's just too much golf left? I'm sure a busy schedule as well.
MATT KUCHAR: It's one of those things that I feel like thinking about something like that that I never felt was beneficial to anyone's game. I feel like the best thing you can do is keep your head down and play golf and let all that stuff take care of itself. Right now as a quick synopsis, I don't know how anybody looks past Tiger Woods. I know he hasn't won a major, but four wins and contending in a lot of majors is pretty tough to compete with. I've had two wins and just some okay major results so far.
Q. Notwithstanding your RBC affiliation, is this more than just a PGA TOUR stop because it's a national open?
MATT KUCHAR: I absolutely see it as a national open. Yeah, it's an event that I know has a great history. You don't get that many opportunities to play in national championships. It's something that I think we all look forward to hopefully putting our name on a title like this. So, yeah, it's an event that I know guys really do think highly of.
Q. Winning this one three days from now could cause a huge swing in the FedExCup points. With so many events still between the playoffs, is that something you think about?
MATT KUCHAR: No. I'm in a good position. The importance is playing well during the playoff. I've had some good runs and been in good positions heading up to the playoffs. It's in the playoffs and then the TOUR Championship that are just so important. I think the points go up by four times the amount in the playoffs. So, if you get yourself in the Top 5, you're going to be in good shape for the TOUR Championship.
But if you don't have some good results in the playoffs, you're going to drop significantly. So the run in the playoffs is just so crucial with four times the amount of points. Then with the reset of the TOUR Championship, I think playing well is so critical there.
We saw Bill Haas win the TOUR Championship and win the FedExCup from somewhere in the 20s. So that's just such a big part of doing well in the FedExCup.
Q. Can you just tell me about the bogey you got and one of the sole blemishes there? You talk about everything was really good scoring today, the rough, is that what it is?
MATT KUCHAR: 6 is a hard hole. The rough can be really penalizing. I hit a drive in the left rough and had a good lie. I was able to get it to the green and caught a flier. It ran through the green and into the crowd just in some trampled down and matted down rough which is difficult in figuring out the grain and figuring out how the ball is going to come out of the rough.
So I hit a poor chip that didn't even get to the green. Hit a chip that there was just more rough and more grain than I accounted for and it came up short. I was able to make a good save for bogey. Got up and down still from the rough to save bogey. It was a place that I knew was going to be an acceptable miss by going long on the green. The pin was in the back section and still had enough green to work with. Just it came out too hot into the people where it was a really difficult chip shot.
Q. What do you think this course's principal defenses are on a day which is ideal, and at a time when you guys are hitting the golf ball so far? Certainly farther than when Nicklaus designed it back in the '70s, and there haven't been many changes to it since.
MATT KUCHAR: It's got a lot of tight, difficult driving holes. There are a lot of holes where you step up and you've really got to hit a good drive or you're in the rough and most likely in the trees as well. So, if you're driving the ball well, it's a lot of shortish irons and very scorable. If not, playing from the rough, this rough is not much fun to play from.
Q. One of the guys yesterday, Matt, in here said they talked about that rough, and they talked I guess the word to describe it from what they said was deceptive. Would you see it that way? The ball sits down a little farther than what you expect it to?
MATT KUCHAR: Yeah, yeah. I think I had a couple of balls that were pretty good tee shots then. A foot into the primary cut of rough that just I looked at my caddie and said, golly, I thought I hit a good drive here and I've got very little to work with right now.
Yeah, it sits down, and it's thick. Yeah, it's deceptive because I think it's not necessarily all that long, but it does seem to go to the bottom of it.
Q. Just one comment on how the greens are running?
MATT KUCHAR: Very makeable. The greens are receptive. The speed is, I think, a comfortable speed for everybody. It's not that fast. It's just a comfortable speed to go ahead and be a little bit aggressive on most putts.