Matt Kuchar has opened up on how the controversies that have engulfed him this year have impacted both he and his family – adding that seeing his grandmother upset by some of the fallout was particularly tough.
Kuchar, 41, has seen his ‘Mr Nice Guy’ reputation destroyed in the past year by a succession of unpleasant incidents.
First, there was the furore over the small sum he paid a local caddie after winning the OHL Mayakoba Classic late last year. Then, there was his infamous ‘non-gimme’ during his WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay tie with Sergio Garcia in March. And that’s to say nothing of his attempt to get a free drop in the most peculiar circumstances during the Memorial just weeks ago.
Each of these incidents prompted a furious social media backlash, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley accusing the American of “putting up a big façade”.
Whilst he says he hasn’t seen much of negativity directed his way, Kuchar has admitted that his grandma has, and seeing her upset by people’s reactions has taken its toll on him.
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“It was difficult. I don't do the social media, so I think that helped to not see much,” said Kuchar ahead of this week’s Scottish Open. “However, hearing from my grandmother, you know, the things that she was hearing and talking to me about was really tough.
“You really want to make your parents proud, your grandparents proud. I've kind of always been that kid that had made my parents and grandparents proud. To see them hear some of the things said about me was never a position I never wanted to put them in. That was very, very difficult.”
Kuchar said that she hadn’t given him any specific examples.
“Just the fact that she had called me to say, ‘I can't believe what they are saying’ is hard,” he added.
“I do a good job good of not reading my own clippings, I feel like you can get pretty lost pretty quickly following a lot of what's out there. So I don't do it.
“But I have enough friends that kind of keep me abreast of some of the news and it was hard when you get your grandmother who you do so much just to make them proud and for it to go the other way is difficult.”
He added that fellow American Phil Mickelson has reached out to offer his support.
“He has pulled me aside a couple times. He's been one that says, "Listen, this is a tough deal." He said, "I've been through way worse. It will pass. You keep being the guy you are and this will go away. Unfortunately it's a tough situation you're in, but just keep being the guy you are and time will heal.”