MATT KUCHAR | ARCHIVE
Scotland in July: a weather forecaster’s nightmare. On this particular day, that dubious tradition shows no signs of breaking as Matt Kuchar arrives at Craigielaw Golf Club in East Lothian to conduct a putting clinic for Bettinardi, the short stick specialists with whom he has developed his own putter line.
In the time it takes the 37-year-old to walk 100 yards from the top of the practice facility to the green around which various media types have assembled, it has gone from warm and dry to raining horizontally. All four seasons in one day? Hell, we can manage two in one minute.
Not that ‘Kuch’ (pronounce it ‘Kooch’, like ‘smooch’) is in any way bothered. The big American, famous for his equable demeanour on the course, wears a near-permanent smile off it, too.
“What’s up, guys?” he enquires of his audience as he saunters up to the green. He cast a sideways glance to the rapidly emptying skies above and adds with a grin: “Nice day, huh?”
Yeah, something like that.
Kuchar is in the birthplace of golf for a fortnight to play in the Scottish Open and Open back-to-back and, if it’s an authentic experience of the country he is after, then Mother Nature is certainly playing ball. For a man more accustomed to temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius in his home in Sea Island, Georgia, the conditions here in Scotland must be wearing on him.
“Not at all,” he laughs. “I love coming over here. I think all Americans do. I’ve got so many friends who have come over to do the whole ‘Buddy Trip’ thing and play seven rounds in five days and that kind of thing.”
What’s the appeal? “The courses are so unique and so much fun to play,” he says. “But what’s just as important to me is that they all tend to be close to some pretty cool little towns, where the people are always really friendly and down to earth. I really enjoy getting out and seeing new places. I like travelling, I like sampling new cultures and meeting new people, so any time I come to Scotland, it’s always extra special.