There’s no question when it comes to the Players Championship – Matt Kuchar was the biggest winner on Sunday. Not only did he pick up the biggest win of his career, but this victory may overturn the position that Kuchar’s been building over the last couple of as one of the most consistent players on Tour. For the last few years, Kuchar has established himself as a good player – not exactly a rising star of the PGA Tour, but a consistent all-around golfer. With a close call at the Masters and now a win at the Players Championship, Kuchar has transformed from “old faithful” to a guy who’s primed to take over the “best American in golf” title.
This recent turn of events has also earned Kuchar a few critics and skeptics. Yet Kuchar proves that, though he may sport a wide smile on the course, this golfer’s got some bite to him. After one media member delicately asked about how comparatively few times Kuchar had delivered a title despite contending seemingly every time he tees up, Kuchar had only one thing to say:
“Yeah, suck it big guy,” Kuchar retorted to the biggest round of applause from the weekend.
Kuchar shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday to win by two strokes, smiling all the way. The victory brought 33-year old Kuchar a $1.71 million check along with his fourth title, rocketing him up 11 spots to No. 5 in the world ranking – his highest position ever.
Though Kuchar was the big winner this past weekend, the Players Championship showcased a series of small victories. Martin Laird, for example, closed with a 5-under 67 that got him within shouting distance of Matt Kuchar late in the day. Besides, cashing a $627,000 second-place check is enough to make ya feel like ya came in first. Rickie Fowler was also a player to watch over the weekend. Though he ended up missing a birdie putt on the 72nd hole, Fowler somehow found a way to go birdie-for-birdie on the 16th and 17th that really spiced up the game. He may not have come in first, but he still deserves a lot of credit for his performance on the course.
As in life, there are two sides to every story. While the Players Championship had its share of outstanding winners, the Tour event showcased a few losers too. After a fairly solid and consistent performance throughout the week, Kevin Na dropped off the deep end when he reached the fifth hole on Sunday when he managed to bogey six of his next nine holes and dropped out of contention. However, even Na’s performance doesn’t take the cake for the worst showing on the course. The once great Tiger Woods didn’t necessarily play badly, but after claiming the Masters swing issues that he faced earlier had been resolved, Tiger’s performance on the course makes this caveman wonder if he isn’t just fooling himself. The putting was a major problem. With the U.S. Open les than a month away, unless Tiger pulls himself together (or pulls a miracle), it doesn’t look like Tiger’s going to be a problem for the competition.
What say you, Rockheads? Does the Players Championship mark the rise of Kuchar’s star or the final flicker of Tiger Woods? Perhaps both. As always, leave yer thoughts in the comment section!