Paul McGinley calls out Matt Kuchar nice guy ‘facade’
Paul McGinley has said that the incident over the gimme putt with Sergio Garcia has given an a real ‘insight in to Matt Kuchar’, and that his nice guy demeanor is a ‘facade’.
Of all the men to be involved in a rules spat during the WGC Dell Match Play, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar would have liked it not to be them. After Garcia’s DQ for destroying greens in Saudi Arabia and Kuchar’s highly documented underpaid caddie, this year has been less than perfect for their publicity. And it got worse on Saturday during the quarter finals.
Garcia had a putt to win a hole Kuchar had seemingly looked out of until making a putt of his own, and after missing he tried to bash the four-inch tap-in putt with the back of his putter, only to miss again. And Kuchar hadn’t had a chance to give him the putt for the half. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same thing happened at the 2015 Solheim Cup with Suzann Pettersen.
Obviously, Kuchar would have given him it, but because he hadn’t, he decided to call over rules official Robby Ware – who told Kuchar he couldn’t give a putt already taken, so he won the hole and went 2UP, changing the momentum of the match.
“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’.
“I said, I didn’t want that to be how a hole was won or lost. And he said, Well, you can concede a hole. I’m not sure I’m ready to concede a hole. And just the rule played out with Robby stating how the rule works. It’s not a— certainly I don’t use any gamesmanship, it’s not a match-play tactic, it’s not anything. It was just one of those mistakes that Sergio made. And I said it’s kind of one of those tough deals in the game of golf.”
And while golf was definitely the loser in the Sergio Garcia vs Matt Kuchar putt-gate situation, former Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley said the whole incident gave an more unfavourable insight into Matt Kuchar’s character from the one people have become accustomed to.
The highly publicised incident where Kuchar paid a local caddie just $5000 of his $1,296,000 winnings in Mexico was resolved by Kuchar recently. But only after a couple of denials he did anything wrong, until someone clearly convinced him otherwise and he had a change of heart.
It made many question the nice guy image Kuchar has long portrayed, and the incident with Garcia was another blemish on his record. He was the one who called over the referee, and he was the one who came out of the contest the winner. To McGinley, it highlights a difference in his persona that is masked by his nice guy ‘facade’ on the course.
“It gives an insight into Matt Kuchar,” McGinley 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.”
It seems that the majority of players and their caddies sided with Garcia: the argument being that yes Garcia should have waited, but it would have been a regular halved hole if Kuchar hadn’t decided to get the rules officials involved.