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July 10, 2019

Matt Kuchar

North Berwick, Scotland

TOM CARLISLE: Good afternoon, everyone. Matt, thank you very much for joining us. Welcome pack to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. It's your ninth appearance here in Scotland. Give us your thoughts the week ahead of The Open.

MATT KUCHAR: Excited to be here. I played Renaissance a couple of fun times in years previous, fun golf course. Have just really enjoyed coming to this The Scottish Open over the years, whether it be Loch Lomond or Gullane or any of the other courses we've played. It's been a great experience and made many great friends here and always a lot of fun to return.

TOM CARLISLE: And you had a bit of fun last night in the Hero Challenge, unfortunately second this time around to Matt Fitzpatrick. How was that experience.

MATT KUCHAR: I'm always blown away with what a cool experience the Hero Challenge is, just the excitement, the atmosphere. Last year at the castle was just fantastic, and this year to do it here at the course, it's the first time we've done it -- no, I think we had one other at the host course.

But still, amazing atmosphere in not the best of weather, and not the best of conditions. Fun event. I think all the pros really have a good time. Feels like all the fans have a good time. Feels like it's a great thing for the game of golf.

TOM CARLISLE: You've had a couple of top 5s over here in Scotland. What is it you enjoy about links golf?

MATT KUCHAR: It's funny, my first few British Opens, and probably maybe even my first ten weren't the most successful. I loved it over here. I loved the golf. I love the game. I love how it's played but I didn't have that much success.

I can't put my finger on what it is that has helped me get over that hurdle. If it's just improving as a player or getting a little bit more come portable here. But I've had a couple good runs on links golf and I do enjoy it. I really do look forward to coming and playing and trying to figure out how to play the best I can in these conditions.

Q. You've played some really consistent, excellent golf this year, we can see by your standings in the FedEx. We've also seen a little bit of competitive edge. How much is one related to the other? Are you playing better because you're a little bit spicier these days?
MATT KUCHAR: I feel like I'm the same guy. I love playing. I love the game of golf. I love the challenge that it presents. But it's one of those games where when it's great, you love it, and you can't wait to continue playing, and when it's not going well, you can't wait to fix it and try to improve it and figure out how to get better.

And so I feel like I've always had that love for the game and desire to try to improve, and I think in the game of golf, on our level, the little improvements add up to big things, and I've just continued to find little ways to improve that fortunately have produced some better results.

Q. Have you always been this competitive? We seem to think with the rulings and things like that -- have you always been like that, just hidden a little bit?
MATT KUCHAR: Anybody that's out here is competitive. I enjoy the game. Certainly enjoy the competition. But I think anybody out here that's playing golf for a living better love the competition.

Q. You talk about the fact that you've learnt links golf over the last decade or so, and you came close in this tournament a few years ago and you came close at Birkdale. With the form you're in at the moment and your knowledge of the links golf, do you think you're trending at the right time heading into Portrush?
MATT KUCHAR: Golf is a fickle game. I like the path I'm on, how I'm trending, but I understand golf is a very fickle game. You can be great one week and miss the cut the next. It's just a tricky one. I think you saw that with Gary Woodland, won the U.S. Open and missed the cut in Detroit.

I'm pretty open and understand that, listen, you never own the game. You never are in full total control. You can feel awfully great about your game, and golf can quickly jump up and bite you.

So it keeps you on that edge. It keeps hungry. It keeps you motivated. That's kind of where I am. I understand that, you know, this week, may not be on the form I want to be on. I've done the things that I think are going to help me be on good form but I can't give any guarantees here.

Q. There's no doubt that you're one of the most popular players with the crowds here in Scotland. A huge following when you've come to Gullane, and I'm sure the same will be again this week. But the incidents earlier this year at Memorial and with the caddie, do you feel that's tarnished your reputation in any way at all, or have you been misunderstood?
MATT KUCHAR: Oh, I don't know about misunderstood. The caddie thing was a tricky situation. I feel like the difficult situations you get in turn you into -- you learn from those situations. You don't learn from victories very often. You learn from your setbacks, and I think that's something where I've certainly learned from.

I look at that and that's an opportunity for me to learn to be more generous across the board. You know, whether it's home with the family, with the kids, with the wife, with the fans, with you name it; there's just so many opportunities to be more generous, and that's one of the things you learn. Sometimes the setbacks are hard, but those are the lessons that you tend to learn from and come out better from.

Q. Did you feel heard by the criticism that came your way?
MATT KUCHAR: Sure, it was difficult. I don't do the social media, so I think that helped to not see much. However, hearing from my grandmother, you know, the things that she was hearing and talking to me about was really tough. You really want to make your parents proud, your grandparents proud. I've kind of always been that kid that had made my parents and grandparents proud. To see them hear some of the things said about me, was never something that I wanted to put them in that position, and that was very, very difficult.

Q. That's pretty distressing when you hear your own grandmother hearing things. What did she hear? Did she contact you? And what's her name?
MATT KUCHAR: It's Grandma. (Laughter).

She didn't tell any examples, I can't believe the things they are saying. Basically love you, support you, all the things a grandmother would say.

Just the fact that she had called me to say, "I can't believe what they are saying" is hard, because I've got a pretty decent idea from other friends telling me, you know, I can't believe what this guy said, or this guy really threw you under the bus. There were some things.

I do a good job good or bad not reading my own clippings, not reading any clippings. Just kind of good or bad, I feel like you can get pretty lost pretty quickly following a lot of what's out there. So I don't do it.

But I have enough friends that kind of keep me abreast of some of the news and it was hard when you get your grandmother who -- do you so much just to make them proud and for it to go the other way is difficult.

Q. I guess one guy in a comparable situation over the years has been Bubba.
MATT KUCHAR: Are you comparing me to Bubba right now? (Laughter).

Q. Have you spoken to any of these guys like Bubba who have maybe been over this kind of thing before and had to deal with that outside condemnation, if you like?
MATT KUCHAR: I have not. Phil Mickelson has pulled me aside a couple times, though, and he's been one that says, "Listen, this is a tough deal." He said, "I've been through way worse. It will pass. You keep being the guy you are and this will go away. Unfortunately it's a tough situation you're in, but just keep being the guy you are and time will heal."

Q. I just would like to know, what is the achievement you would like to achieve in golf or impact you would like to leave, you know, for the golf.
MATT KUCHAR: Certainly, in the game of golf, listen, I'm lacking major championships. I get awfully excited, having a couple close runs. Love to win a major. It's a tricky thing in our game. We're very much judged that way. You want to say a major makes you a great player. I would say there are plenty of great players that have not won majors and plenty of players that you would not classify as great players that have won majors.

But I realise that is how we're judged and I look forward to each and every one, trying to win. It's been that way since ever. As a kid, you dream of winning majors. It's not like it's a new thing. But that is definitely on my list of achievements. You know, FedExCup this year would be amazing.

And then as far as -- I don't know what she said, kind of legacies to leave behind. Most important thing is my kids. I mean, that's the only true legacy I really, really have, but I hope in the game of golf people look back and say, a great player who brought great spirit and brought enjoyment to others, is kind of how I look at how I play the game.

TOM CARLISLE: Thank you very much for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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