Every sport needs a villain. Someone who can fuel the emotion of the audience and add drama to an otherwise drama-less situation.
A few months back, I wrote about Patrick Reed becoming the villain in golf. Well, that title appears to be changing hands to a guy originally seen as one of the most likeable guys on tour — Matt Kuchar.
“Kooch,” as he’s referred to by golf fans throughout the world, has had a rough few months.
Ironically, this rough stretch has come during a time that he’s playing some of the best golf of his career. Back in early November, many may remember the aftermath of his victory at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico.
His regular caddy was not available for the event, so Kooch hired a local caddy for the week. As luck would have it, he went on to win the tournament with his local caddy on the bag. Despite the nearly $1.3 million he won for the event, Kuchar allegedly paid the caddy a small fee they had agreed upon prior to the start of the tournament.
The only problem was that a victory fee was never discussed. In the end, Kuchar came across looking like a jerk, and the caddy looked like the victim. It was a bad look, and Kuchar was buried in the press over the incident.
Fast forward to last week’s Dell Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas.
Kuchar was playing a quarterfinal match against Sergio Garcia. On the 7th hole, Garcia missed a putt to win the hole by a couple of inches. In frustration, he proceeded to reach over and tap the ball backhanded at the hole under the assumption that the putt was conceded by Kuchar.
Well, he missed the putt and, ultimately, was deemed to have lost the hole because Kuchar had not yet conceded the putt.
By rule, this was handled correctly. However, I am not certain Kuchar did everything he could to make this right.
Rather than explain to the official that he had not yet conceded the putt, Kuchar should have just explained that he had conceded it and let the match move on.
That didn’t happen, and he went on to win a controversial match later in the round.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Matt Kuchar is completely at fault for the match play incident.
However, I do find it strange that he is now at the center of two of the most controversial incidents in the past six months in golf.
Coincidence? I’m not sure about that.