Kuchar pays tribute to Spieth but vows to bounce back
Matt Kuchar paid tribute to Jordan Spieth for the way he battled back to win The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
The 39-year-old from Sea Island, Georgia, thought he had the Claret Jug in his sights when he went one shot ahead of his nearest rival after 13th holes of the final round but, despite carding two birdies of his own, he had no answer to Spieth when the new champion finished with three birdies and an eagle over the closing five holes.
The American also thanked his family for surprising him by making a last minute decision to cross the Atlantic to watch the finale and confirmed this latest reversal would only make him more determined to win a maiden major.“It's hard to explain,” he said in answer to a question about how it felt to have lost out great friend and Ryder Cup team-mate coming down the stretch. “It's crushing. It hurts. And it's an excitement and a thrill to have played well, put up a battle, put up a fight.”
“You work so hard to get to this position. And to have a chance to make history and win a championship. You don't get that many opportunities. And to be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it's a hard one to sit back and take.
However, I did get two birdies between the 14th and 17th, it’s not that I did anything wrong. but still lost two shots to Jordan. I can only control what I do, how I play. Jordan is a great champion and certainly played that way in the finishing stretch today. It was impressive stuff when a guy does something like that. All you can really do is sit back, tip your cap and say, ‘well done.’ It was certainly a show that he put on.
“Seeing my family (at the 18th green), that was a surprise,” he added. “I talked to them last night on the phone. Thought they were in Colorado. It was a great surprise. A teary surprise. And it's great to have people to share things with, have loved ones here.
“Certainly my family means a lot. They're a big support team. Golf is a selfish game, and what they go through, it's an amazing support to help me try to be my best. It was very, very cool to have them here.
“Man, it was exciting out there, having chance to win a The Open,” he concluded. “The crowds were just fantastic. I don't know what the numbers were, but they were deep. It was really fun to be in the arena having a chance to put your name on the Claret Jug.
“As tough as it is to be this close and finish second, I am sure that it will lead to me continuing to work hard and push myself harder to try to finish one place better.
“I think things like these continue to push people. And I know that's what it will do to me. To be so close, to taste a victory and not be able to get it, it’s hard, but I'll look forward to the challenge of trying again.