It seems every week brings a different winner on Tour, and while we know the Tigers and the Rorys, there are quite a few who snag a victory without necessarily snagging the public's imagination. So that's why we're here. Read up on your newest champions so you'll be able to show off when the majors roll around and your non-golf-freak friends actually pay attention to the game.
Matt Kuchar, winner, The Players Championship
All right, look, we could forgive you for not knowing some of the winners on the PGA Tour, but you've got to know Kuch, right? Kid with the billion-dollar smile who came from out of nowhere to win the 1997 U.S. Amateur ... and then disappeared just as quickly. By 2006, however, he was off the Tour and playing on the Nationwide circuit, albeit briefly. Days looked dark indeed for the former Georgia Tech phenom.
But in 2009, things began turning around, at (appropriately enough) the Turning Stone Resort Championship. He followed that up with a win at The Barclays in 2010 and then this year's Players Championship. Last year, he made 22 of 24 cuts, and this year he's 10-for-10, ranking sixth in FedEx Cup points.
After his Players win, he's now ranked no. 5 in the World Golf Rankings, his highest position to date, and he appears primed for a strong run at one of the three remaining majors this year. If he's not the best active player never to win a major, he's in the conversation ... and it's a conversation he'd like to get out of, thanks very much.
Thing is, until very recently, Kuchar's run in majors was nothing short of abysmal. Sure, he was the low amateur at both the U.S. Open and the Masters in 1998, but since then? Gah. From 1999 to 2009, he only made two cuts. Two! Since then, however, he's posted three top-10s, including a majors-best T3 at The Masters earlier this year. Sometimes you gotta go hungry for quite awhile before you appreciate what you had in front of you.
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- Matt Kuchar