“Well, golly Matty, how ’bout that!?”
Although unconfirmed, numerous sources have leaked this is possibly what this weeks big winner, Matt Kuchar, had to say after his clinching putt hit the bottom of the cup on Sunday. Kuch picked up his second win in a short span, which is very rare for him, in shooting a combined -22 over 4 rounds in Hawaii to claim the Sony Open.
The tournament as a whole was a bit of a letdown (in my opinion), given some of the big names participating in the event, and lacked drama on Sunday night as it was really only a two-horse race for the majority of the day before Kuchar put his foot on the gas at the turn following a balky start. The course looked fantastic and played easy as it typically does. For most of the week weather was a non factor, leaving guys to go pin seeking and see how many birdies they can roll in. While historically par 70s play tougher, think two less par 5’s, Waialae’s rough is not too hard for the pro’s to handle and around the green there is not much trouble. With that being said, let’s get into some of the storylines of the week.
Spieth continues to struggle: Unfortunately for many Jordan fans, including myself, this week was an all too familiar script. Struggle early, miss short putts (losing nearly 3 strokes in round 1), and battle back only to fall short of missing the cut. He hasn’t been able to consistently put 4 rounds together in a long time, and while he is good enough to put together solid finishes throughout the year that the average player would be happy with, he is not the average player. He said it after his second round that he is sick of “learning experiences”, and I don’t blame him. He will obviously turn it around, but when remains to be seen. It’s most likely confidence thing with Jordan, as he has ample talent to get the ball in the hole.
Leish stays hot: Marc Leishman, one of the nicest guys on tour, is on a tear. The Aussie is playing some brilliant golf and it is a joy to watch. Leish never seems like one to get “rattled”, but right now you can see how calm and comfortable he is. Every approach is pin high, and every putt is proper speed and dropping or scaring the hole. Many of us from this network have had numerous encounters with Marc over the years, and every time we have reached out he has responded and even taken time to quickly chat with us post round. He is an easy guy to root for, and is showing he is an elite golfer with his play. If he stays this comfortable and confident do not be surprised to see Marc Leishman contending in Major Championships come this summer.
The unknowns atop the leaderboard: Besides Kuchar and Leishman, the rest of the top 10 at the Sony were relatively unknown or older players. Andrew Putnam played great early on and while he didn’t win he certainly never backed down over the weekend, and veteran guys like Charles Howell and Davis Love (who can still rip it), battled their way into the top 10. Then you had some names you would only recognize if your an avid watcher of golf. Corey Conners, Sebastian Munoz, Chez Reavie, and Brian Stuard are all guys who have been at the top of leaderboards on the weekend, but are not the cream of the crop, and they simply don’t make for must watch TV as they try and chase down a relatively monotone player in Kuch. While JT, Reed, and Bryson played well, I am sure they were hoping to be closer to the top at a course that is very gettable.
Is Kuch turning into a winner?: One of the bigger storylines in golf so far has been Matt Kuchar, known for a long time as your “backdoor top 10” guy, already closing out two tournaments in style. Flashback to Kuch going toe-to-toe with Jordan at the British in 2017, and Kuch has absolutely stepped up to the plate lately when it has mattered most. Even for his amazing consistency, he hadn’t won in 4 years before his victory in Mexico, and to follow that up with a win at the Sony will make the big guns think twice when they see Matt Kuchar near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. Once an afterthought when he was near the lead, Kuch seems to be finding his winning confidence and re-writing the script to how he will be remembered on tour. Good for Kuch, even if he did only pay his caddy 3k after the Mexico win (if true…c’mon, Kuch!).
A final quick shout out to my OAD Paul Casey, who started bogey-double, missing putts from 6 and 3 feet. Maybe next year we will find some magic Paulie. Thanks for reading folks, and I will see you all next Monday, right here. Please feel free to send some fan questions my way on Instagram or Twitter.
Til next time,