(Reuters) - While missing his first PGA Tour cut in 18 months at last week’s Northern Trust Open was disappointing for Matt Kuchar, the American says he has no real concern after trying to juggle holiday time with a new playing schedule.
Kuchar, after competing in the first two events in the PGA Tour’s inaugural ‘wraparound’ season for 2013-14, decided to take a four-week break with his family in Hawaii before returning to action at the Northern Trust Open.
His week there finished prematurely as missed the cut at Riviera Country Club by six shots, ending a remarkable run of 30 consecutive cuts made on the PGA Tour since he failed to qualify for the weekend at the 2012 PGA Championship.
Kuchar conceded that he had arrived at Riviera “a little under-prepared” while he had also paid the price for trying to introduce a few swing changes during competition.
“I take a lot of pride in showing up and playing good golf every week,” the world number 10 told reporters on Tuesday at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona where he will defend his WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship this week.
”I feel that’s been something I’ve been able to do, something I do take a lot of pride in. Disappointing last week to miss the cut, and miss the cut in the fashion I did.
“I don’t know if it was lack of preparation, trying to juggle the new Tour schedule with the wraparound schedule, trying to get a break. It is kind of something I‘m learning.”
Kuchar, a six-times winner on the PGA Tour, said he had no regrets over taking the break after posting top-10 finishes in his first two starts of the year.
”I decided this year that after (the) Sony (Open), I was going to take a mini off-season, take a four-week break,“ he said. ”We stayed in Hawaii; we basically just lived the Hawaiian life. Did every activity possible, had a great time.
“I came to LA a little under-prepared, but had a couple of meetings with my instructor Chris O‘Connell, and we worked a week before the tournament on some new stuff. I put it right into play. I liked it, and I‘m excited about it.”
Asked to explain the swing changes, Kuchar replied: ”Just trying to open the club up a little more and lay it off a little more.
”My work is to always get the club lower, tighter, more around to the left in the through-swing. I just don’t think I knew exactly how to control the misses (last week). I just didn’t have enough time to put something new in play.
“But by the same token, I‘m going to keep it in play because I know it’s going to be better in the long run. I‘m not real concerned. Had a lot of pride in not missing a cut in over a year but it’s time to start a new streak, I guess.”
Kuchar, who beat fellow American Hunter Mahan 2&1 in last year’s Match Play Championship final, will launch his title defence against Austrian Bernd Wiesberger in Wednesday’s opening round, and he is prepared for the unexpected.
”I love the format,“ said Kuchar. ”It’s good for golf. It makes for some real exciting matches, makes for something just different than four rounds of 72-hole stroke play.
“I could love the format, play great Wednesday morning, and still go home Wednesday afternoon. It’s one of those unique, interesting formats. You’ve got to beat your opponent, play better than your opponent that day.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry