Well, that was some weekend. Matt Kuchar notched his 9th career victory with a four-shot victory at the Sony Open on Sunday. His second win in his last three starts, you would think that would be the biggest Matt Kuchar news of the weekend…
Sony Open Leaderboard
Let’s start with the good. Matt Kuchar has been one of the most consistent players on the Tour for the better part of 15 years and is a mentor to many young guys. He is notorious for being unable to close out events, so it is cool to see him capture a few wins late in his career. Kuch opened with back-to-back 63s and then closed with matching 66s on the weekend. His consistency never gave his chasers much hope, and he closed with three birdies in the last four holes.
Now the bad. News started spreading through Twitter on Saturday that Matt Kuchar allegedly paid his temporary caddy, El Tucan $3k after winning the Mayakoba Classic in November. His normal caddy, John Wood, did not make the trip, and Kuchar used a local guy for the event. It is rumored that there was an agreement in place before the event began, and Kuchar chose not to tip his caddy after the victory where he earned $1.3 million. When asked to comment, Kuchar remarked that this was a non-story and went on to say that he didn’t pay El Tucan $3,000 or the standard 10% of a PGA Tour winning caddy. It’s clearly not a good look for the usual media darling, Matt Kuchar. It’s hard to expect him to tip the standard 10% that most PGA Tour players use for their regular looper, but throw the guy a bone…
Andrew Putnam was the closest in pursuit of Kuchar but ultimately ended up four shots behind the champion. Putnam got off to a fast start with a Thursday 62 and was in the mix throughout the weekend. Putnam already has one PGA Tour victory, but he says his goal is to be a top 15 player in the world. This runner-up finish will move him inside the top 50 and allow him playing opportunities in much bigger events. He is a seriously good guy and has a very relatable set of clubs.
Other Leaderboard Notes
Chez Whiz – Chez Reavie finished T-3, but the highlight(s) of his week came on Friday. The experienced tour pro became the first player in PGA Tour history to record three eagles on par 4s in one round. All three were holed from 100+ yards (!!!).
Full Week – Canadian Corey Conners Monday-qualified into the Sony Open and used very consistent play to finish T-3. Conners already has two top 10s on the young season, including a runner-up finish at the Sanderson Farms. He earned roughly $300k this week, not bad for qualifying on Monday.
Where ya been? – Hudson Swafford has had a rough go of it over the last two seasons but performed nicely in Hawaii. The 31-year-old finished t3rd and recorded his first top 10 at a PGA Tour event since the 2017 WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He had his worst career FedExCup finish last season and is looking for a bounceback season in 2019.
Leaking Air Jordan – Spieth rebounded from a tough Thursday with a 66 on Friday, but it wasn’t enough for the struggling superstar to avoid his first MC of 2019. Spieth had acknowledged coming in that he would be shaking off some rust and will look to rebound in his next start, likely the Waste Management.
The Sauce and The Juice – NEWSLETTER DEBUT
A new section to the newsletter, this Monday segment is going to break down what relatively unknown players we think had “the sauce” over the weekend and which only have “the juice”. (Watch THIS) These folks may have had previous success, but 90% of golf fans don’t know them. There can be a lot of members.
Sauce – “The sauce is forever.” This was not a fluke. They’re here to stay. They have the game and you should start to take notice.
Juice – “The juice is temporary, anyone can obtain the juice.” We don’t believe they’ll be consistent members of leaderboards. They played fine this week, but don’t expect to see them on a regular basis.
Andrew Putnam – Don’t expect to see many PGA Tour winners on this list, but Putnam deserves it. He has struggled with his game over the last few seasons but turned it on in 2018. He won the 2018 Barracuda Championship and already has two top-5 finishes in the 2018-2019 season. The dude absolutely fills up the cup with the flatstick but is held back on the tee. If he is able to start gaining strokes off the tee, he will be a top-10 machine.
Shugo Imahira – Imahira made news last week with his Masters invitation and showed that he has serious game at Waialae. He fell to a tie for 33rd, but his first two rounds were seriously impressive. He led the field in SG approaching the green on Thursday and was able to put himself in position to charge on the weekend. At just 26 years old, this Japanese player is ready to make some noise on a global scale.
Keith Mitchell – First things first, Mitchell absolutely POUNDS the ball. His clubhead speed is so fun to watch and he can battle anyone off the tee. He finished T-16 this week after falling off on Sunday, but he was able to get himself into the final group after the first three rounds. Mitchell is in the top 20 of strokes gained off the tee, around the greens, and putting this season and is due to breakthrough in a big way.
J.T. Poston – The postman delivers on Sundays. J.T. was not well-known coming out of Western Carolina but has made a name for himself in professional golf. He played very consistent golf this week on the way to a T-16 finish, his third top-25 finish in his last 8 starts.
Sebastián Muñoz – Boy do we hope this is wrong. The guy seems like a really good person, and his playing competitors seem to like playing with him. Muñoz relies heavily on his putter and wedges to score and has not been great in approaching the green over his young career. His numbers off the tee have improved, but if he can’t consistently get it close enough, it will be tough to earn consistent finishes.
Slovakian Rory Sabbatini – A change in citizenship doesn’t change anything. He’ll still make noise on Thursdays and find a way to finish 40th for the week.
The Other Shark Shootout
The Web.com Tour season got underway on Sunday in the Bahamas. Both of the first two events of the Web season begin on Sunday and will end on Wednesday. UNLV product John Oda is currently -8 and holds a two-shot lead, but he has three holes still to play as Sunday’s round was suspended by darkness. Lee McCoy and Willy Wilcox hold the clubhouse lead at -6 while Marty Dou (-5), Doug Ghim (-3), Maverick McNealy (-3), and Jordan Niebrugge (-3) are all in the hunt. Leaderboard
Woodland shocked everyone on Friday with his approach shot that used the ground game…even the cameraman.
“Identity theft is not a joke Jim, millions of people suffer every year.” – Dwight Schrute.
Matt Kuchar earned his 100th career top 10 this week. Not to be one-upped, 50+ year old Davis Love III earned his 180th!
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Shotgun Start: Matt Kuchar’s wild weekend and Jay Rigdon on golf’s TV coverage
Andy and Brendan are both finally settled at home and ready to review a weekend of perfectly normal news from the PGA Tour. They discuss Matt Kuchar’s win at the Sony Open, where he falls in the always-evolving “best never to win a major” list, and a few other takeaways from the leaderboard. Then they get to bigger news that engulfed Kuchar over the weekend, with rumors that he stiffed his local caddie with just $3k from a $1.3 million winner’s payout at the Mayakoba Classic. Are Tom Gillis and Kip Henley golf’s version of Woodward & Bernstein? Is this fake news? If true, how sh*tty of a move was it? They also discuss the collapse of Stephen Curry’s event in the Bay Area. Then they get to Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing for an interview on how the broadcasts of golf have improved, where they’re still lacking, dream and nightmare broadcast teams, and what he’d like to see change in 2019. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify