Don’t be fooled by Matt Kuchar’s smile.
Former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley attacked Kuchar on Saturday, saying Kuchar’s caddie-stiffing incident was just the precursor to his controversial decision not to concede a hole to Sergio Garcia in the quarterfinal at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on Saturday.
“It gives an insight into Matt Kuchar,” McGinley told Sky Sports, via the Telegraph. “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.”
Kuchar added another embarrassing moment to the start of the year when he didn’t concede a hole to Garcia after the Spaniard botched an 8-foot putt on the seventh hole in the quarterfinals. When Garcia went for the tap-in, his ball spun around the cup and failed to drop in. Garcia casually picked up the ball and walked off the green, thinking Kuchar would concede the putt, except he never did.
Kuchar later said he would have conceded the putt if he could have, but he didn’t have the chance due to Garcia’s quick-moving putt. Kuchar then went to a rules official to explain the situation, which predictably led to Garcia losing the hole. It would prove to be the decisive margin in Kuchar’s 1 up win that powered him to the finals, where he lost to Garcia 3&2 on Sunday.
“In some ways, I really admire the toughness of him,” McGinley continued. “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.”
McGinley’s claims about Kuchar’s actual self come after the former PGA nice guy was busted for stiffing a fill-in caddie after his win at the Mayakoba Classic in November. Kuchar won the $1.296 million pot, but only paid his caddie, David Giral Ortiz, $5,000.
Ortiz had initially asked for $50,000, but Kuchar deemed the $5,000 payment “fair” after the two had agreed to the fee prior to the tournament. Kuchar fell under public pressure to reward Ortiz what he wanted, and eventually apologized to Ortiz and said he would pay the total amount he wanted nearly three months after the tournament.
PGA Tour pro James Hahn reacted on Twitter after the Garcia incident, questioning Kuchar’s optics.
“Did Kuchar seriously not give a 6 inch putt to Sergio just now? And called a rules official to confirm he did not give him the putt. Seriously?” Hahn tweeted. “And the announcers are siding with Kuchar? Shame on you guys. Sergio deserves better than that.”