Northern Trust Open interview: Matt Kuchar

February 14, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Northern Trust Open transcripts archive

MARK STEVENS:  We would like to welcome Matt Kuchar.
    You got to 7 under after the first round, if you want to talk about your round today and what was going well and we'll have some questions.
It was a great day, bogey free.  Always fun to have bogey free days, especially around this golf course.  I got off to a great start.  Birdied my first three and all were kick in birdies, I think all within probably four feet the first three holes.
    Just drove it well today which is a big key around here.  The greens are pretty tricky and pretty firm this year, so coming out of the rough, it's difficult to get a ball to stop close to the hole.  Coming out of the fairway is a key thing to play some good golf, so we are driving it well and played some nice golf today.

Q.  Coming out of the gates and playing the first three, do you feel more prepared than some of the other guys?
It's always interesting to see guys figure their schedule out.  I've enjoyed getting out, and any time you can qualify for Kapalua and kind of get the first couple going, it's a fun way to start the year.
    The last couple of years, I've gone to Palm Springs about a week early to prepare, and then just set up shop in Palm Springs for the whole West Coast.  I played the first three and took a three week break, and feel excited.  I was excited about the game of golf after Bob Hope.
    I had three really nice weeks, almost three Top 10s, and took a three week break, stayed in Palm Springs for a week, then went to Hawai'i for about eight days, had a blast.  We went to a place on the big island called Kikaua, took the wife and kids, my wife and I went paddleboarding, outrigger canoeing, snorkeling, did some surfing.  Just anything in the water you can think of, we were doing it and having a blast.  I came back refreshed and energized and ready to get back playing again.

Q.  How would you assess your record at Riviera?
  Not real sure.  Don't have a great idea.  You guys could probably tell me my record.  I don't think I've really contended for a win here but one of those places where every time I come, I enjoy myself here.  I think every hole is unique and fun and challenging to play.  So it's one of these places that kind of stays on my calendar kind of no matter how I play.  I love coming here.

Q.  How do you play 10?  What's your strategy there?
Depends on the winds, if I can get close to the green, I hit driver, and if I can't, you have to lay up.  I think it's a fantastic hole.  I kind of wish it had a little more area to lay up long and left so you could have an angle at a wedge shot.
    I think that laying up is no bargain.  I think you get a wedge in your hand and generally you feel pretty good that at least you're going to make par.
    On 10, that's not the case on that hole.  That wedge shot is just so difficult because you just don't have enough room to work the angle.  But I hit a great drive just on the front of the green and you couldn't ask for a better shot today, but most of the time it's driver and try to get it pin high.

Q.  You're a fan of the course; where do you feel your turning point was where you started to pick up speed?
I got off to a hot start and was playing solid golf.  I had a couple days work with my instructor.  He came out and we worked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Chris O'Connell came out, and we had great sessions, and feel like I was playing good and excited to get going.
    It was one of those things, I think it was Monday we put in a good day of work, and I said, I need to get out and play.  We went over to L.A. Country Club, played the North Course.  I was excited about the things were working on and excited how I was hitting the ball, and said let's get out on the golf course and see if it works on the golf course.  Things were going well early in the week and still continuing, but I think the hot start was certainly a great way to get the round going.

Q.  Is stand up paddleboarding tough to figure out?
The boards are big.  The stand up paddleboards are big.  On a calm day I think it's a pretty easy thing.  I think when it gets a little rough, it starts getting exciting.  When you get better, you start trying to challenge yourself by trying to catch waves.  I prefer some calmer conditions and going out and have a nice, relaxing paddle than a real challenging paddle.

Q.  Have you stayed pretty much injury free during your career?  Have you ever had anything that's stopped you for a while?
  No, I've been fortunate.  I've been injury free.
MARK STEVENS:  Thanks a lot, Matt.  Good luck the rest of the week.