Weary Kuchar gets a home game

Matt Kuchar is playing for the second time in the early stages of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season this week in the McGladrey Classic, and even though it is a home game, he would rather simply be at home.

Kooch, who tied for 21st in the season-opening Frys.com Open two weeks ago, lives not far from the Seaside Course in Sea Island, Ga. He would be in the McGladrey field no matter what, but he doesn’t agree with the timing.

“I still am pushing to put these three events (that start the new season) — the Frys, Vegas, McGladrey — to be after the Wyndham Championship, before the (PGA Tour) playoffs, have these part of the real season,” said Kuchar, who was playing in the opener 10 days after returning from the latest United State Ryder Cup defeat at Gleneagles in Scotland.

“I’d love to see there be a proper break and then maybe an Asia restart come November. … It’s just so quick to restart after the Ryder Cup. It doesn’t feel like there’s any break. A one-week break is not a break.”

Kuchar is going on vacation after this week, passing on the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and the OHL Mayakoba Classic in Mexico, the last three events on the 2014 portion of the schedule.

The next event on his agenda is the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ tournament in Florida in December.

Kooch spoke with the powers-that-be in the PGA Tour hierarchy, and he knows why the schedule is the way it is, but he still believes there could be some changes.

“I know there’s an issue with wanting the FedEx Cup to not compete with football, but it competes with Week 3 or 4 of football,” he said. “Why not compete with Week 7 of football? I see Week 7 as being less (important) for football watchers than Weeks 1, 2 and 3.

“That’s how I think the Tour should work, but again, I’m not asked all that often how I think the Tour should work. But I’ll keep suggesting.”

He added that the response from the PGA Tour was “not real accommodating.”

Kuchar, who plays more than 20 times a season and leads the PGA Tour with 58 finishes in the top 10 over the past seven years, tried to take it easy during his week off, which actually turned out to be less than a week.

The short layoff might have cost him in the Frys.

“I spent a couple days unpacking, played a good bit of tennis,” said Kuchar, who captured the RBC Heritage this year for his seventh PGA Tour victory. “It was just a pretty low-key week. I did a charity event for Stewart Cink on Monday (before the Frys), so I left (home) Sunday. A little shorter than normal, but other than that, it was just (trying) get some relaxation.

“I played (golf) a couple days, probably started Thursday or Friday getting back into it. No, not an offseason. I joked with Hunter Mahan (after) I hit a draw off the first tee (at the Frys). Draw is not my natural shot. My natural shot is a little fade, and they were joking that I picked up a new shot in my offseason.”

Despite the abbreviated turnaround time, Kuchar was in contention in the Frys.com Open after playing the middle rounds at Silverado Resort and Spa in 68-66, going 35 holes without a bogey.

That put him in a tie for third and seemingly on the verge of yet another top 10, but he closed with a 4-over-par 76 in the wind to slide 18 spots down the leaderboard. He later refused to use fatigue as an excuse — although it is entirely possible he simply ran out of gas.

“It was a tough day,” said Kuchar, who hit only 11 of 18 greens and could not made a birdie after the eighth hole, playing the last 10 holes in 3 over. “It was really hard, particularly early. It was really windy, and I just kind of got on the wrong side of things.

“I hit a number of really good shots that just got penalized, almost. It was a day where things just weren’t going my way.”

After another short break, he hopes to put on a better show for the home folks this week.

–Story courtesy of The Sports Xchange, TSX Sports Editor Tom LaMarre

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