Kuch fondly recalls his first visit to Scotland. It happened way back in 1998 when he was just a 20-year-old amateur.
“I remember coming over for the Palmer Cup,” he smiles. “It was being held over the Old Course but we combined our visit with golf on other courses nearby. It was a great experience. I loved it from the very start.”
He was once pretty bad-tempered
There are many things in life that defy all comprehension. The prospect of universally acknowledged nice guy Matt Kuchar having a bad temper certainly fits that bill. It’s not by accident, after all, that the seven-time PGA Tour winner has achieved the questionable distinction of having a Twitter parody account created in his honour: @GoodGuyKuchar.
He wasn’t always quite so even-keeled, however. In fact, as a junior, Kuchar’s propensity for throwing tantrums was so extreme and so frequent that he once had his clubs confiscated after he slammed them into the ground one too many times.
The punishment had the desired effect. “I realised very quickly that I didn’t want my clubs taken away from he,” he told a 2009 edition of US golf mag, Golf Digest.
Even so, Kuchar’s career as a golfer almost never happened. After abandoning a childhood dream to become a tennis player - his father, Peter, was also an accomplished player, incidentally - he turned down lucrative offers to turn pro after succeeding Tiger Woods as US Amateur champion in 1997, preferring instead to complete his studies in management at Georgia Tech. When he graduated in 2000, he spent the best part of a year working as an investment banker with Liberty Associates in Florida. His initial plan was to combine a career in the financial sector with full-time amateur golf.
It wasn’t until he got an invite to the 2000 Texas Open that Kuchar’s plan to play pro golf for a living was hatched. He missed the cut but didn’t disgrace himself.
“I found myself upset that I wasn’t playing the next week because I wanted to find out if I was good enough to play at weekends,” he said soon after.