Pinehurst wipes smile off Kuchar's face
PINEHURST, N.C – One by one, players in the U.S. Open bogeyed themselves down the leaderboard.
One by one, they left Pinehurst No. 2 with a whimper and not a bang. The golf course beat them up, and they were in full retreat.
And then – bang! – the nicest guy in the world opened his mouth and the sharp-edged criticism came tumbling out.
Matt Kuchar, Mr. Nice Guy, could contain himself no longer. All day he stood there and took it like a man. Finally, after he posted a 1-over-par 71, he launched a rock-em, sock-em attack on the U.S. Golf Association for its Saturday course preparation and setup.
Kuchar on hole locations: "You go out for the practice rounds, and you kind of guess where you think pins will be, and you kind of say, 'Well, that's too severe, they won't put it there;' and sure enough that's where the pin is."
PHOTOS: 2014 U.S. Open (Saturday)
Check out photos from Saturday's third round of the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.
Kuchar on the intention of the USGA: "There were a lot (of borderline pins). There were several that I thought, 'Man, it's just mean, mean, what they've done.' "
Kuchar on Sunday's final round: "It (the course) teeters on unplayable … They've got it at the edge, and I'm sure they'll push the edge. I'm hoping a few pin placements are a little kinder tomorrow after they saw what went on today, but I'm not sure I'll get my wish."
Kuchar comparing Pinehurst with Shinnecock Hills in the 2004 U.S. Open: "You know, I think they've got to know that we're teetering on the edge, and you don't want to have a Shinnecock all over again (with a few unstoppable putts). It's close. I think it could easily become that again."
Kuchar on the day-to-day transition of Pinehurst No. 2: "Amazing how different the course was today from yesterday. We got the rain Thursday night. The course was soft and fantastic on Friday. Amazing today – much faster, how firmer the greens got. It was really tough. You could hit a great drive, a great approach, trickle off a green and easily make a double. The pins were so tough. It was a tough test, not only skill wise, but mentally, too, to stay in it and not let yourself get beaten up."
Movie fans old and young can recognize the many similarities between Kuchar, the golf star, and Jimmy Stewart, the classic movie star: tall and slim, slow talking, intensely analytical, extremely serious.
Nice guys both. Always looking for the truth, never sugar-coating anything that calls for deeper examination.
And here at the U.S. Open we had Matt Kuchar sounding every bit like Jimmy Stewart, except this is real life and not the movies.
The reality posed by Kuchar was very, very clear: No more Mr. Nice Guy.