Paul McGinley has criticised Matt Kuchar’s handling of an incident that overshadowed his WGC-Match Play quarter-final with Sergio Garcia, describing the American’s nice-guy reputation as “a big facade”.
Kuchar profited from Garcia being assessed a stroke on the par-3 seventh for missing a short putt that the Spaniard appeared to presume had been given.
Kuchar was off the green attending to his bag at the time and explained that it was he who brought the incident to the attention of the rules officials.
“I saw he missed his second putt. I said, “Sergio, I didn’t say anything. I’m not sure how this works out”,” Kuchar revealed afterwards. “I didn’t want that to be an issue so I asked [rules official] Robby Ware. I said, “I don’t know how to handle this but I didn’t concede the putt and Sergio missed.” Sergio said it was totally his mistake. He knew he had made a mistake. I didn’t want that to be how a hole was won or lost. He said, “You could concede a hole”. I said, “I’m not sure I’m ready to concede a hole.” The rule played out with Robbie explaining how the rule works.”
Garcia, who admitted that he “screwed up”, said he had told Kuchar there were “many options” available to him after Kuchar revealed he was uncomfortable winning a hole in that manner.
“Obviously, he didn’t like any of the options that were there,” said Garcia. “It’s fine. At the end of the day, I’m the one who made the mistake.”
The incident has, as you might expect, split opinion.
However, speaking on Sky Sports Golf at the conclusion of play, 2014 Ryder Cup winning captain McGinley took issue with Kuchar’s handling of it and used the example of the controversy he found himself in over his payment of a local caddie during last year’s Mayakoba Classic to expand on his thoughts.
McGinley said: “It gives an insight into Matt Kuchar. 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.”
McGinley added that, in the interests of sportsmanship, he had given a 20-foot putt to JJ Henry in the 2006 Ryder Cup after a streaker had run across the line of the American’s putt.
“In some ways, I really admire the toughness of him,” added the Irishman. “We’ve seen this year with the caddie thing and how he doubled-down on it and now we’ve seen it again. There’s a hardness, a toughness about Matt Kuchar that he puts a big facade up around.”