Media Center Interviews
April 19, 2017
Pre-Tournament Press Conference With Matt Kuchar
MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Matt Kuchar into the interview room at the Valero Texas Open.
Matt, you're coming in here off a week at the Masters where you tied for 4th and then last week shot a final round 64 at Heritage to sneak up there.
You must be pretty happy with the way your game is rounding into form.
MATT KUCHAR: I'm incredibly happy. Started with some good play, got some time with my instructor Chris O'Connell at the Dell Match Play and felt like the game really started clicking.
Committed last minute to Houston because I felt like things were going well and leading up to the Masters wanted to keep playing, keep getting some reps in.
Houston wasn't great but I knew I was on a good form and to finish with a 4th place finish at the Masters was a thrill. Back-9 31 was just an amazing run, great fun and then to just try to keep it going.
I'm quite excited about the form I'm on. Love coming here. This has been one of my favorite events. I can remember probably six years ago-ish watching this event on TV going, "That's a place I need to go to. That's a place I need to go play."
Just saw guys have to hit lots of shots, have to drive it really well and thought it would be a great fit for me. We started coming here and, of course, as everybody knows, it's a family favorite. My kids been on me for the last month, when are we going. Even though Hilton Head, Masters week are great fun for the kids, this is certainly one of the highlights of their year to come here, all their friends come, the great water park, the great fields to play in.
It's fun both for me as a golfer and me as a dad as well to be here.
MARK WILLIAMS: As you said, this is your 13th start here at the Valero Texas Open and just the last five, six years you've had some pretty good consistency. I think Top-5 two, three years ago and some pretty consistent finishes.
What is it that you like about this golf course?
MATT KUCHAR: It's a very demanding driving golf course. You have to put in it play to have a chance to play well here. Certainly ball-striking is critical. If you're not hitting it well, these greens have a lot of fall-off areas, you're going to find yourself in some spots you don't want to be in. Kind of set-up to a hole and know you've got to go ahead and execute some good shots. I really enjoy the test it provides here.
MARK WILLIAMS: Some questions for Matt.
Q. Charley was in here just a little bit ago and he said he's able to put his Masters last round behind him and move on. Does it work the other way, too, when you have a great finish, you're able to carry on that momentum into the your next tournament?
MATT KUCHAR: I think that you see that happen a good bit. That's what I'm trying to do. Certainly had a great finishing round last Sunday at Harbour Town but that Masters high, there's not many better times or places to have a great week and a great final round.
So, I think I rode that high into the last week and hopefully ride last week's high in here and keep that momentum going.
Q. You talked about Houston. Last time you came to Texas, you missed the cut. You rarely miss a cut. I think since 2010 you've made 92 percent of all cuts. Do you even know what to do on a weekend of tournament when you miss a cut?
MATT KUCHAR: That one was an easy one. That one was an easier early trip to Augusta.
So, you're right, it can be difficult to figure out, trying to figure flights out, trying to figure out getting out of your hotel, figuring out all sorts of things.
Packing up your bags on Friday afternoon is not fun. I try to look at that as a blessing in disguise. I try to look at that as got a chance, I'll go for a weekend to Augusta, then head home for a few days and hang out and not return till Tuesday afternoon.
So, it was one of those things. I would have preferred to play four days. It sure worked out okay as well.
Q. Given your success rate though do you even go into a tournament anymore even worried about the cut, even thinking about it or is it just basically a given for you now?
MATT KUCHAR: Typically in my mind I feel like it's a given. However, I certainly played a number of Friday rounds where I've worried about the cut and knowing that I need to continue some good play or turn around some bad play to make sure I get to play on the weekend.
But, when I show up to a tournament, I feel pretty confident I'll be here four days.
Q. Matt, this makes four in a row for you.
MATT KUCHAR: I think it's five.
Q. What's your outer limit? I know you're a marvel of physical conditioning but at what point you got to take a week off?
MATT KUCHAR: I think on the Nationwide Tour I played ten in a row but, again, that was prekids and I was much younger. However, of late typically I'll throw in my schedule -- my schedule typically includes four two stints of four in a row.
Somewhere along the West Coast I may hit it or I know typically always Players through Memorial is a typical run for me. So, couple times a year I go four in a row. It's not often that I hit five in a row.
Q. This is a little bit off the wall. How much do you sleep?
MATT KUCHAR: Eight hours a night. I'm pretty solid, consistent, 8 hour a night guy.
Q. Have you ever lost sleep over golf if you're near the lead contending?
MATT KUCHAR: No. The tough one I always find is Sunday night. I always -- Sunday night if you're in contention whether win or lose, it's not a great night's sleep. Lot of replay going on in your head.
I mean even after wins where you think everything is great, you're just happy as can be, it's just some sort of extra high that happens and I seem to replay those rounds through my head and I have a hard time getting 8 hours sleep.
Q. Two questions for you, Matt. First off, what specific part of your game allows you to be so successful here?
MATT KUCHAR: I'm pretty sure this place tests everything. I think the biggest test is driving accuracy. I think when you get off line here, you're in, I don't know if their oak trees or mesquite trees. I'm not sure exactly what they are.
But you want to stay away from them. They're big numbers. I think the year I was watching and I thought I need to really get back to San Antonio and play the event, it was Kevin Na made an obscene number on the 9th hole, maybe, just -- that can happen here. You get off line and you can easily walk away with a huge number.
So, that's one thing playing match play, it's a whole other animal. Stroke play, it ruins your tournament. The consistency off the tee is a big deal.
Q. What makes the par-5s here so difficult?
MATT KUCHAR: I think length. I don't know that any of them are really getable in two. I played the front-9 yesterday and I was thinking both of these are ungetatable on the front-9 and I think that's a big contributor is the difference to why a lot of Tour events you see the par 5 scoring average significantly below par and here probably pretty close to par.
They're hard to get -- you have to hit three good shots, certainly two good shots to just set-up a chance to have a chance at birdie.
Q. Matt, with Dustin winning the U.S. Open and Stenson over in Scotland and Sergio a couple weeks ago, those are three guys that have come and spent time at the top of that best golfer without a Major list. We asked Hoffman about it. He says you're at the top of that list now. I'm wondering what you think of that list as a concept in general and is that a good thing to be on that list or not in your view?
MATT KUCHAR: Certainly yes and no.
Certainly to be considered one of the top guys to not have won a Major means you're one of the top guys. It also means you've not won a Major. I think at some point kind of everybody has been on that list, every great player is on it until they win their first.
I'm hoping that I can get off that list sometime quickly, sometime soon.
Q. Would you put yourself at the top of that list, do you think?
MATT KUCHAR: It's funny, I've not run through who the other names would be but I'd certainly think I would be one of those guys, sure.
MARK WILLIAMS: Anything else?
Q. How do you prepare for the windy conditions here and is there a specific shot that you practice?
MATT KUCHAR: Ball striking is such a key in windy conditions, just solid strikes of the golf ball. If you're not hitting it solid the wind really takes over. If you are, you can almost hit it through the wind, it feels like, and so it's continually working just on clean solid ball-striking.
I wouldn't say I work on stinger shot or any sort of real flighted shots. Just making good, quality solid strikes. Wind seems to affect a well hit ball a lot less than it affects a poorly hit ball and so that would be the thing that you hope that's really working well is you're catching it on the club face and hitting quality, solid shots.
MARK WILLIAMS: Matt, thank you for coming in. We appreciate your time and good luck this week.
MATT KUCHAR: Thank you guys for being out here.