Kuchar revels in victory

  • Last Updated: February 25 2013, 15:23 GMT

In tennis it would be a huge story if the world's 23rd-ranked male or female player - currently Sam Querrey and Su-Wei Hsieh respectively - won one of the biggest titles going.

Matt Kuchar celebrates with his family
Matt Kuchar celebrates with his family

In golf it comes as no surprise at all to see American Matt Kuchar win the Accenture Match Play Championship, certainly not at the end of a week which had world number one Rory McIlroy lose to 64th seed Shane Lowry, Tiger Woods go down to 63rd seed Charles Howell and none of the top seven seeds even make it to the last 16.

Kuchar's victory makes it eight different winners in the first eight events of the PGA Tour year, while on the European Tour - the Match Play counts for both - nine tournaments so far this season have produced nine different outcomes.

"Every week is a great opportunity," said the sport's newest world champion after beating holder Hunter Mahan 2&1 in the final in Arizona.

Kuchar is developing a superb match play record - in this event if not at the Ryder Cup, where in his two singles games so far he has been beaten 5&4 by Ian Poulter at Celtic Manor and then 3&2 by Lee Westwood in Chicago.

Win either of those and Europe would not have been celebrating, but he has been a semi-finalist, quarter-finalist and now the champion at Dove Mountain in the last three years.

"I'm not sure I can explain how excited I am to have won this tournament," the 34-year-old gushed. "Match play I find to be such an amazing, unique format, so much fun to play and so much pressure. It seems like each hole there's so much momentum riding and so much pressure on every hole.

"To come out on top after six matches with the top 64 guys in the world it's an incredible feeling."

Kuchar is one of golf's good guys, someone who really appreciates playing a sport for a living where the rewards are so huge.

But after picking up almost £965,000 to take his career earnings through the £14million mark he did confess: "I have been angry.

"I can remember as a kid getting in big trouble. I remember throwing my club into the water and having to be made to go fetch it.

"Then my clubs were taken away from me. I remember that being just a terrible punishment.

"I've learned my lesson, but even since I know I've been angry enough to slam and curse and do the things that we all do as human beings."

The former US Amateur winner lifted the prestigious Players Championship last June and, now he has a world title as well, expectations on him at the majors are bound to grow.

He has had a top 10 finish in each of them the last three seasons and with his best being his third place at last April's US Masters no wonder he is looking forward to returning to Augusta in just six weeks.

But with McIlroy yet to make it to the weekend in two starts so far this year - he defends the Honda Classic in Florida this week - and Woods missing the cut as well in Abu Dhabi before winning in San Diego and then crashing out in Tucson, expect the unexpected.

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