Smiley Matt Kuchar

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Apr 01, 2019, 19:54

From the Telegraph:

Matt Kuchar’s runner-up finish here at the Dell WGC Match Play occurred under a cloud as his full role in the “Gimmegate” controversy emerged.

The American lost to compatriot Kevin Kisner 3&2 in the final at Austin Country Club and in the locker room there were whispers of “karma”. And it is fair to say that questions will go on being asked about Kuchar’s Saturday brouhaha with Sergio Garcia.

Paul McGinley, the former Ryder Cup captain, has already claimed that the saga has underlined that Kuchar’s nice-guy image is “a big façade”.

The incident occurred on the seventh during their quarter-final. Garcia narrowly missed a putt to win the hole and petulantly, and rather pathetically, swiped away the four-inch tap-in. Except Kuchar had not yet officially conceded the putt.

It was initially believed that referee Robby Ware had taken it upon himself to go across and tell Kuchar that there was no other option and that Garcia must lose the hole, which seemed so significant when the match went to the 18th. But Kuchar has admitted that he was the one who decided to get Ware involved, when otherwise the moment would have gone unnoticed.

“I said to Sergio ‘I didn't say anything [to concede the putt] I'm not sure how this works out’,” Kuchar said “I didn't want that to be an issue. So I said to Robby Ware, ‘listen, I don't know how to handle this, but I didn't concede the putt and Sergio missed the putt’.

“Robby stated how the rule works and I apologised to Sergio and said, ‘I didn't want that to be how a hole was won or lost’. Sergio said, ‘well, you can concede a hole’. I thought about it and said I didn't like that idea, either.”

Garcia had an 8-foot putt to win the seventh hole and left it 4 inches short, a frustrating miss. Worse yet was what followed. Such a tap-in typically is conceded in the Dell Technologies Match Play, and the Spaniard walked up and casually rapped it left-handed. The ball spun around the cup, and he picked it up and walked off the green, assuming he remained 1 down through seven holes. One problem: Matt Kuchar never formally conceded the putt Sergio Garcia, left and Matt Kuchar, right, discuss, on the eighth hole, what had happened on the seventh green on Saturday CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ERIC GAY The pair argued with each other on the 10th fairway, with Garcia one stage standing in Kuchar’s way with his arms outstretched, and inevitably, social media went into uproar And although Garcia’s ongoing temperament issues were the main focus, it has hardly been unanimous support for Kuchar.

Lee Westwood, the former world No 1, opined “I don’t think anyone came out of that well”, while Denis Pugh, Francesco Molinari’s coach, expressed the belief that Kuchar knew exactly how it would unfold as soon as he involved the official.

“Sergio rarely comes out of any ‘incident’ looking good and this is no exception, but usually an opponent wouldn’t say to the referee ‘what happens now?’” Pugh tweeted. “Like Kuchar didn’t know…”

That tallies with McGinley’s comments. The Irishman is another who feels uncomfortable by the fact that it was Kuchar who initiated the referee’s decision and he also referenced Kuchar’s PR nightmare last month, when it came to light he had only originally paid a Mexican caddie $5,000 after winning $1.3m for victory in the Mayakoba Classic. Caddies usually receive 10 per cent.

“It gives an insight into Matt Kuchar,” McGinley, the Sky Sports analyst, said. “You see the smiley, nice Matt Kuchar. You’ve seen the incident with the caddie. There’s a hardness about him. Don’t be fooled by him. I think we saw another illustration of it there. There’s a hardness, a toughness about Matt Kuchar that he puts a big facade up around.”

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