Kuchar had his cherished reputation questioned after a debate following his victory at the Mayakoba Classic. That incident, along with a few other minor rules disputes and a brief scuffle with Sergio Garcia at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, has taken its toll on.
Kuchar paid his temporary caddie just $5,000 after winning nearly $1.3 million and then later doubled down on his move to do so, saying he didn’t “lose sleep over this.”
The 41-year-old, who grabbed his first Tour win since 2014 at the beginning of the season, eventually settled the dispute with his caddie and paid him $50,000.
Kuchar is not a fan of social media, and so he did see much of what was going on. He said via Golf Digest that he got to know some tough things going on in the social media from his grandmother. He has always made his mother and grandmother proud and to see that his grandmother heard such things about him was the last thing he would wish to happen.
Kuchar said that one does not learn from victories very often but rather from setbacks. That incident, he said, has taught him a valuable lesson — one more than a tournament win could have. To him, he looks it as an opportunity to learn to be more generous across the board.
In the face of all the challenges, Kuchar has still had a reasonably successful year on Tour. He picked up two wins early — at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii — and has eight top-10 finishes, including a second place finish at the RBC Heritage and the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship. He finished in the top-16 in his past three major championship appearances, too, and has missed the cut just once in 18 events this season.
Kuchar credits Phil Mickelson for his success through the turbulence. Mickelson encouraged Kuchar to remain the guy he was, and eventually, all that he was going through would pass.
Kuchar will participate in the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland — an event he’s finished in the top-10 in his past two appearances.