TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 17: Matt Kuchar
Continuing to roll as a top-10 machine, he's looking for his first TOUR win since 2014
December 14, 2017
Matt Kuchar rolls in birdie to win match at the Presidents Cup
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
For a fair chunk of Sunday at The Open Championship, it appeared Matt Kuchar was going to join the list of major champions.
But as history shows, a late turnaround and blitz from Jordan Spieth snatched that dream away from the man they call 'Kuch.'
So now this season becomes a very interesting one for the seven-time PGA TOUR winner, whose resume includes a signature win at the 2012 PLAYERS Championship.
Kuchar will turn 40 in June and is coming off a season with nine top-10s. He has made the TOUR Championship the last eight seasons, finishing inside the top 20 of the FedExCup every year since he was runner up in 2010.
He's 11 of 11 when it comes to making the FedExCup Playoffs.
Will he continue to be a factor against the greater depth and youth on TOUR or will things start to get harder for the smiling assassin?
Statistically he remains far above average. Inside the top 70 in all Strokes Gained categories last season, including 16th overall. While he continues to putt well and drive the ball accurately, any perceived loss in distance will be overcome.
Consistency has always been a hallmark of Kuchar's game. Now he needs to take it to another level in the big weeks.
Not much has to change - his game was good enough last season to finish inside the top-16 of all four majors, inside the top 5 in two of them - but after getting so close at Royal Birkdale last year, perhaps Kuchar will now turn disappointment into major victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
Current 2017-18 position: 107th
Playoff appearances: 11
TOUR Championship appearances: 8
Best result: 2nd (2010)
INSIGHTS FROM OUR INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM's Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Matt Kuchar in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Cameron Morfit
The remarkably consistent Kuchar shows no signs of slowing down even at 39. Last season he was again deadly accurate off the tee (66 percent, ranking him 31st on TOUR), putted better than average, and registered his career-best finish in a major with an unforgettable runner-up to Jordan Spieth at the Open Championship. Kuchar has made every U.S. Presidents and Ryder Cup team since 2010, and will most likely keep on doing so for the foreseeable future, but whether this seven-time TOUR winner will finally add a major title to his resume remains an open question.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
Just when you think that Father Time is applying pressure, he hangs up another quality performance. You want reliability? You got it. He's competed in eight consecutive TOUR Championships. You want durability? Sure. Since 2011, he's averaged more than 24 starts per season and hasn't withdrawn during any. Quite simply, he's an easy late first-rounder because he knows who he is and we know what he delivers. It's hard to believe that the big 4-0 lingers on June 21, 2018, but it had to arrive at some point, it's just that it won't matter.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Kuchar has anywhere from six to seven different equipment brands in the bag. Scaled back the amount of forward press in his stroke, which required Bettinardi to make a new KM2 D.A.A.S. putter with new loft and offset specs (5 degrees of loft and 1 shaft worth of offset). Currently carries three different wedge brands (Bridgestone, Callaway and Cleveland). Began using a new Bridgestone Tour B XS golf ball at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
Kuchar is a case study in how simple style tweaks can make a big impact. During the past couple of years, he has ditched the pleats and the mismatched hats and moved to flat front trousers and exotic skin belts. As a result, his looks are cleaner and more modern. The last piece of the fashion puzzle for Kuch is slimmer fitting shirts.