Tom Patri: Matt Kuchar is more than just a great golfer, he's a great guy

TOM PATRI

In a time in American golf when we really want a good guy to pull for, check out homegrown Matt Kuchar. This kid has very quietly — and may I say with a very humble manner — played some awesome golf the last few seasons.

Way back in 1997 while attending Georgia Tech where he was twice awarded All-American honors, he won the Terra Cotta Invitational right here in our backyard at Naples National. That's reason enough to go out and support that event each year; you can view some future superstars.

Kuchar went on to win the U.S. Amateur and was low amateur in 1998 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. Pretty strong stuff.

Kuchar has represented our country as a Walker Cup, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup player. This past week, he and fellow American Gary Woodland brought home the World Cup to U.S. soil for the first time since 2000.

In 2010, Kuchar was the leading moneywinner on the PGA Tour and won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average. This past season, he finished sixth on the money list, and his scoring average was a mere 69.60.

Each of the last couple of summers, Matt has spent some time at Friar's Head in New York, where I teach during the summer. He always has his family along. He has also brought along his talented swing coach, Chris O'Connell. It was easy to see why they worked well together. Both guys are extremely humble, dedicated to their respective crafts, and just all-around nice guys.

Let me give you the best example I can of who Matt Kuchar is. Matt comes to Friar's Head as a guest of our owner and founder, Ken Bakst. However, the first time he was going to bring Chris to work with him, he went out of his way to come ask me if I was OK with Chris on property. He certainly did not need my permission as a guest of our owner, yet he took the time to ask me. When Chris arrived, he also made it a point to seek me out. Both guys are class acts. Believe me, most Tour players would not have even cared one way or another.

Matt bleeds red, white and blue. He has a good work ethic. He is a great family guy. He respects and holds the traditions of this great game up high. He is an American star in the making.

This player has a major-type game. He hits it straight, hits a lot of greens. He understands how to dissect a course, and handles the heat well. Watch him closely — he is on a steady maturation process. A big one is coming.

Go get 'em Matt.

Tom Patri gives lessons at the Quarry on Immokalee Road, and is at Friar's Head in New York from May-December. Patri is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. Visit Patri's website at www.tompatri.com or email him at tpatri@mindspring.com.

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