Kuchar conquers Waialae
January 14, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Matt Kuchar's news conference after winning Sony Open
HONOLULU, Hawaii – The Kuchar’s finally have a dog.
It has been a long running promise from Matt Kuchar to his sons Cameron (11) and Carson (9) that if he won a major championship they could have a dog.
While the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club – which Kuchar won by four strokes on Sunday for his ninth PGA TOUR win – is not a major it does come with a nice perk for the champion.
A state of the art AIBO robotic dog.
Both Cameron and Carson were all smiles as they accompanied their father on his tournament winner duties.
“It's going to be a great addition to the family. We are going to have some fun with AIBO,” Kuchar beamed with his trademark smile.
“We talk about getting a real dog, but AIBO is going to have to be our little real dog for the time being.”
While clearly excited with his new pet Kuchar was obviously more pleased to have collected his second win in three starts on the PGA TOUR.
The wait was not nearly as long between drinks as previously.
The 40-year-old waited 1,667 days between his seventh and eighth TOUR wins but it took just 64 days to get this one.
RELATED: Final round, Sony Open in Hawaii
Over the course of the four rounds Andrew Putnam led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (+10.894), making an incredible 447 feet, seven inches worth of putts, but he fell just short at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
The former PLAYERS Champion moved to second in the FedExCup behind Xander Schauffele.
“I'm tickled, thrilled to have won two events this early in the year,” Kuchar said.
“To have won two out of three starts on the PGA TOUR is mind boggling to me. It absolutely sets up the year to be in great position for the FedExCup. There is a lot of year left and a lot of great things that are out there to be done.”
Having started Sunday two shots in front of Andrew Putnam, Kuchar made the turn one back of last season’s Barracuda Championship winner following some early stumbles.
But a 5-under 30 back nine blitz pushed the veteran to 22 under for the week, ultimately four clear of his nearest challenger.
And he’s ready for more success.
While not making any outlandish promises Kuchar was happy to be reminded of Vijay Singh’s early 40s.
Singh won 22 times on TOUR after entering his fifth decade of life including the FedExCup in 2008.
“I would certainly like to (do what Singh did),” Kuchar said.
“He set a great example. Certainly showed that is possible. A number of guys showed that it is possible. It's nice to know that.
“It's not like you hit 40 and you have to go away. There are guys that have done great. Certainly I'm off to a way better start than I would've expected. Feels good. I hope to continue.”
While the PGA TOUR is getting younger and younger each year the veteran continues to adapt impressively.
“Thankfully golf requires so many different things to be going right. It's not just power game or a putting game,” Kuchar added.
“There are so many facets to the game that it allows people to play for a long time and play competitively and play great for a long time. I am grateful that the game requires so many different facets to it. It's not just a long-drive contest.”
Next up for the Kuchar family is a two-week vacation on other Hawaiian islands and they are already planning their return to Maui for next year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.
And now they get to bring the dog.
CHIP SHOTS FROM THE SONY OPEN
Over the course of the four rounds, runner-up Andrew Putnam led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (+10.894), making an incredible 447 feet, seven inches worth of putts. Read about his efforts here.
Marc Leishman closed with a bogey-free 64 to finish T3 a week after being T4 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui. He is third in the FedExCup. “If I could have made a few more putts today then who knows what might have happened but overall it is a good few weeks in Hawaii,” he said. “Two good finishes and a nice bank of FedExCup points keeps me up there in the standings.”
With rounds of 67-68-64-65 Davis Love III finished seventh at 16 under. It was the 54-year-old Hall-Of-Famer’s first top 10 since the 2017 Wyndham Championship. He says he will be a more regular feature on the PGA TOUR this season. “I kind of committed to some of my sponsors that this was going to be pretty much a regular TOUR year,” he admitted. “I've been struggling to get to 15 events the last few years because of different injuries; some self-inflicted and some wear and tear. I felt like I owed it to my sponsors and myself to give the TOUR a full shot. I will play some Champions Tour events to fill in, but I am committed to playing at least two events a month all the way through the start of the next season.”
Corey Conners leveraged his Monday qualifying effort into a tie for third, the best finish by a Monday qualifier this season. Conners was runner up at the Sanderson Farms Championship as a regular member of the field and now sits 19th in the FedExCup.
Charles Howell III’s love affair with the Sony Open in Hawaii continued. He’s now made the cut in all 18 trips to Waialae Country Club and his T8 was his 10th top 10. He has two runner ups and two thirds. “If I stay healthy I'll never miss this one,” Howell III said. “I can control the showing up part… The finishes, I don't know ... but it would be awful special to one day win here.”
Defending champion Patton Kizzire finished with a 5-under 65 to be 13 under and tied 13th.
Brian Stuard shot rounds of 66-69-64-66 to finish T8, his first top 20 result since a T4 a year ago at Waialae.
CALL OF THE DAY