I’m not about to tell you that it’s rough to be Matt Kuchar. He’s a regular at the top of PGA Tour leaderboards week in and week out, with a game that travels the world with barely even a flinch. But that’s what makes his win at the 2014 RBC Heritage that much sweeter.
For each of the last three weeks, Kuchar has been on an unusual streak. Although he finished in the top five at each of the Valero Texas Open, the Shell Houston Open, and most recently the Masters Tournament, he could easily have won any – or even all – of those events. Despite seven top-tens in just ten events this year, questions about whether or not Kuchar had the “killer instinct” to go out and close a tournament gained traction quickly.
Of course, for each of the last three Sundays, Kuchar has also posted his highest score of the week. The 75 at the Valero was the worst of the bunch, but all in all, the weekends haven’t been great to golf’s most consistent star. Leaving Augusta National without the green jacket had to be tough, but it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing Kuchar down.
It wasn’t a runaway, but for the first time this year, Kuchar closed out a tournament in ridiculous style. Coming into the day four strokes behind eventual runner-up Luke Donald, Kuchar had no choice but to go on offense early. He did just that, firing a six-under-par 30 on the front nine to put himself firmly in contention.
Although he made his lone bogey of the day on No. 17 to go back into a tie with Donald, Kuchar was able to hole out an amazing bunker shot on the 18th to all but seal the victory. It was certainly the shot of the day, and a punctuation mark on a long few weeks.
If you want to know how badly Kuchar wanted a win, you need look no further than the celebration that ensued. The usually reserved Kuchar took off his cap and gave a huge fist pump, roaring nearly as loudly as the crowd at Harbour Town. After weeks of falling just short, that had to feel like the weight of the world was off his shoulders.
It might not be a green jacket, but you know that Kuchar will appreciate the tartan plaid number that he’s about to add to his wardrobe.