As the 146th Open moves to our rear view mirror, I'm still thinking about the incredible play of Matt Kuchar. Having watched him more than any player during the week, I was struck by his consistency, touch and shrewd handling of Royal Birkdale. He deserved to win. And nothing against his signature wins at The Players and Memorial or his Olympic medal in Rio, but this was the tournament of his life.
Tim Rosaforte at Golf World does a nice job summing up where this leaves Kuchar at this point in his career and in the coming years.
Rather than sulk about his near miss, Kuchar did what he always does. He moved on, honoring his commitment to play in this week’s tour stop at Glen Abbey (he is sponsored by RBC). He shot an opening-round 71 on Thursday, though afterward, he said he felt dizzy during the day, even seeking medical help during the round. Unclear what caused the faintness, Kuchar was optimistic it was just temporary. He could have easily withdrawn from the tournament given the circumstances, but instead he followed it with a Friday 68, an impressive round in which he played the last six holes in five under, with an eagle and three closing birdies to make the cut.
There will be more big events in the coming weeks, the PGA Championship on the horizon and the FedEx Cup playoffs again looming. Friends and family have reminded Kuchar there are plenty of positives to take from Birkdale. So it is that he is trying to look at it the way Superman would, the way a bronze medalist would.
“There are such great lessons that come from golf,” he conceded. “You know, this was one of them.”