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July 23, 2017
STUART MOFFAT: We're joined by the runner-up in the 146th Open, Matt Kuchar.
Matt, not quite the result you wanted today, what's your overriding emotion?
MATT KUCHAR: It's hard to explain. 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, thinking with five holes to play, I played the next four in 2-under par. However, I lose two shots in those four holes to Jordan. I think I lose -- yeah, two shots to Jordan.
And so 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." And it was certainly a show that he put on.
Q. The roller coaster of emotions out there, especially the last five or six holes as you're waiting for Jordan to play the 13th, and then as you describe all that happened in the last few holes. Can you try to describe what you were feeling as you were going through it. And then to see your family surprise you on the 18th green, can you tell me about that?
MATT KUCHAR: Yeah, we knew Jordan was in a great deal of trouble on 13. I went ahead and played my second shot knowing that it was going to be a while, I wanted to hit it while I was still somewhat fresh and in the mood of swinging a club. I hit a great shot and knew we were in for a big delay. I knew that taking a drop far back on the range, trying to get the correct line that you take an unplayable drop, and then from there trying to figure out the distance, trying to figure out where to aim his shot. We knew we were going to be there for a while. We made ourselves comfy and told some stories. Certainly it was not anything I was ever going to be upset with. It's very understanding. It's a very difficult situation.
Once we started playing again, I had a great shot at birdie and nearly thought my putt was going in to make a birdie there. I didn't lose any momentum. All of a sudden I now have a 1-shot lead after that hole in the British Open with five to go. I'm playing really well. Hitting a lot of good shots. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. And he just -- he really turned it up.
His shot into 14 was spectacular. I think it must have come close to going in. That was a great shot and a great birdie. And the eagle the next. I knew all of a sudden I went from even to 1-down, even making a birdie, myself. But I figured I'll keep plotting along, even though I'm 1 down, I have three holes to play. I'm still in it. Still got a chance.
He birdied 16, for me to now go 2 down. That's okay. 2 down, 2 to go. I've still got a chance here. He certainly gave me an opportunity when he hit it right at -- I wasn't sure how far right, I thought it might be in some real trouble, but it looked like a pretty good place to be. I was still thinking, let's make birdie. I got in some trouble but was able to get out and have a good chance and make my 15-footer for birdie thinking, all right, I put some pressure on him, I might be 1 down with one to go. And he was able to make another birdie, make an 8-footer. It was impressive stuff.
And from there, it's a long shot, but anything can happen in golf. That drive once he hit the green in 2, I knew I didn't have a whole lot of chance. But had hopes of either holing a shot or potential three-putt, and it wasn't to be.
Then seeing the family, that was a surprise. 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.
Q. Over those first dozen holes you're watching Jordan essentially self destruct, did that surprise you, and what's going through your mind as you're sort of playing very steady and he's coming apart?
MATT KUCHAR: It was not the easiest of conditions. And a British Open, you're at a major championship. A few swings that are just off gets you in trouble. And he found some trouble early. I was grateful, looking forward to taking advantage of those opportunities.
I was really bummed at the third hole I hit a really good shot off the tee, and only had I think 138 yards to the hole and got too aggressive with the wedge shot. It was a poor swing, a poor decision. To make bogey on the third was giving a shot -- I kind of pride myself in not giving shots away, and I felt like I let one slip there. But started playing great again after the 6th.
Had really good chances on 7, 8 and 9. Finally make one on 9, and Jordan three-putted to all of a sudden be even with nine to go.
Man, it's exciting out there. A chance to win a British Open, 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.
Q. This was a great deal coming in. After that I think I'd be lying in a darkened room in tears. But it's great to be coming in here. Just going back to early in the round, how conscious were you of the young Chinese guy posting a score of 6-under in the clubhouse. And was that something that was in your mind at any stage?
MATT KUCHAR: I saw it, but, no, I don't know if maybe I'd dropped a shot to possibly 8 -- was I 8-under, at least? So I think I had a two-shot lead. Never thought about finishing third; trying to protect second. That was never in my mind. I knew I was playing well enough that the whole point was moving forward not just staying still.
So, no, I wasn't concerned with the 6-under posted.
Q. The experience, will you come back and try to get your hands on that Claret Jug at some stage (no microphone)?
MATT KUCHAR: Yes, it certainly does. 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 me 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, hard, but I'll look forward to the challenge of trying again.
Q. Can you walk us through, it looked like the moments or reality kind of hit you on 18 of it finally having slipped away. And maybe the thoughts that were running through your head, and maybe conversations with Woody or with the family after?
MATT KUCHAR: I knew Jordan had 40, 50 feet for birdie. I knew he had a long shot. I figured ending up in that bunker wasn't going to be so bad. I feel pretty confident of my bunker game. I was going for broke with the shot. But hit it in the bunker and thought I still have a chance to hole this and put some pressure on him. And walk up and find it plugged on the edge, still had the dream that maybe, maybe it's possible. Certainly a one-in-a-million shot but you think, who knows? Once that bunker shot didn't go in, I knew it was over.
The walk up 18, again, I took a moment and thought this is an amazing thing, to be the final group, walking up 18. The crowds here just are so unique. Truly special to play in front of. It was a cool opportunity to experience.
I don't remember the second part of the question.
Q. Just the conversation you had with Woody afterward and your family?
MATT KUCHAR: I think everybody's doing their best to put a positive spin on it. I played well. I had four good rounds of golf. I was close. And so I think everybody around me is doing the best to put the most positive spin on this this week as possible.
Q. You're known as a relatively calm guy out there. I think it's fair to say Jordan got a couple of breaks over the last couple of days. Did at any point you feel like you were getting frustrated or that sort of thing?
MATT KUCHAR: Yes. Yes. But part of the game, part of the way the setup was, we all get our breaks. Nothing I can do about what happens to him. Certainly muttered under my breath a few times; I'm out there competing and wanting to win.
But, listen, I understand the game, I know that during this week I would have gotten several breaks myself. I feel like you play long enough, these things even out. I'm very clear in understanding that, sure, he got some breaks, but that's golf.
STUART MOFFAT: Thank you very much for joining us.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports