Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar can’t seem to help being themselves
How did Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia of all people manage to get themselves involved in another golfing controversy over the weekend?
It was only recently that both men were involved separate incidents that called their reputations into question.
Garcia, you might remember, had a massive temper tantrum inside a bunker before being disqualified for going on a green-damaging rampage during a particularly ill-fated recent trip to Saudi Arabia.
Not to be outdone by Garcia’s antics, Kuchar made a reputation for himself as the world’s worst tipper after stiffing a Mexican caddie following his victory at the Mayakoba Classic.
Both men needed another PR disaster like a hole in the head, but that’s precisely what they got during their quarter-final clash at the WGC-Match Play in Austin on Saturday.
It all happened one the par-4 seventh green, when Garcia failed to convert a birdie attempt to win the hole, before sloppily missing a second putt in haste from inside a foot and picking his ball up.
It should have been a straightforward concession, but Garcia had never asked that of Kuchar, and the American seized on the opportunity to make that case to match officials, who had no choice but to see things his way.
What could have been a win for Garcia and should have been a half, turned into a loss instead, and Garcia dealt with the situation about as well as you’d expect he would.
With nary a thought of his bunker breakdown in Saudi Arabia, the Spaniard gave Kuchar a piece of his mind on the next hole, before swiping his putter in anger on the green after another missed putt.
Neither player came out of the incident looking particularly good, having just recently come out of completely different incidents not looking particularly good.
Afterwards, perhaps more mindful of his recent history than he had been before, Garcia decided not to make an issue of it.
“I screwed it up, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “Obviously I missed my putt and I kind of tapped it with the back of my putter before he said anything. It’s a loss of hole. I understand that.
“There are many options that you can do if you don’t want to take the hole, even though I’ve already lost that hole. But obviously he didn’t like any of the options that were there.”
No, Kuchar certainly didn’t.
“I didn’t want that to be an issue,” said the American, who made it an issue. “Sergio said it was totally his mistake. He knew he made a mistake.
“I said I didn’t want that to be how the hole was won or lost,” added Kuchar, who ended up making it how the hole was won or lost.
“I said it’s kind of one of those tough deals in the game of golf.”
What’s particularly interesting about the incident is that seemed to highlight the very same character flaws that got both men in trouble earlier this year.
A petulant Garcia couldn’t control his hair trigger temper, while Kuchar gave us all another glimpse behind that increasingly shaky nice-guy facade.
It’s a pretty fascinating case study in how sport can amplify our strengths, but also highlight our flaws.
And as Kuchar and Garcia found out once again, there’s nowhere to hide from yourself.
Ryder Cup golfer Thorbjorn Olesen grabbed woman’s breast on flight, court told
Thorbjorn Olesen is said to have been drinking and taking sleeping pills on the flight from the US to the UK.
Collin Morikawa throws away big lead as Viktor Hovland wins Hero World Challenge
Hovland began the day six shots off the pace but carded a closing 66 at Albany to secure his third title of the season.
Rory McIlroy: Players want to know where they stand amid golf’s power struggle
The Northern Irishman was speaking ahead of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
Tiger Woods says he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after crash but has ‘long way to go’
The 45-year-old 15-time major winner was in pain throughout as he addressed his first press conference since February’s crash.
Tiger Woods rules out full-time return to golf after serious car crash
The 45-year-old required surgery on open fractures to his lower right leg after the single-vehicle accident in February.
Lee Elder, the first black player to compete in the Masters, dies aged 87
Elder joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at Augusta National just over seven months ago.
Suzann Pettersen lands ‘dream’ job as Solheim Cup captain
The Norwegian will be going for a hat-trick of Europe wins after taking over from Catriona Matthew.
Lee Westwood rules himself out of contention for 2023 Ryder Cup captaincy
Westwood says he cannot commit fully to the role while he is still competitive as a player.
Collin Morikawa wins Race to Dubai as Rory McIlroy’s frustrations boil over
The Northern Irishman appeared to rip his shirt open in the recording area behind the 18th green.
Tiger Woods shares footage of him hitting balls as rehab continues
Woods was injured in a car accident in February.