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March 12, 2003

Matt Kuchar


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'd like to welcome defending champion Matt Kuchar.

Matt, thank you for joining us today.

If you could, we have a new venue this season for you but you obviously have great memories of the Honda Classic from 2002. If you could just talk about last year a little bit and some of your goals for this year.

MATT KUCHAR: It's great to have a win last year. It wasn't something I was expecting. It just happened.

I knew at some point in my career I would break through with a win, but it was quite nice to have it as early as I did .

I was talking to Bob Bubka earlier; it does feed the fire to win more. It was a feeling I had missed for a few years. I won tournaments in college and it had been a year or so I think that I had won a tournament till the Honda last year.

So to win again, it's a great feeling, standing there at the end of the week, holding a trophy knowing that you're the best player in the field that week is a pretty amazing feeling and is something I would love to do again.

The fact that the tournament is at a new course doesn't really bother me that much. I feel I'm new to all of these courses. There's very few courses I've seen a number of times so, last year being my first full year on TOUR, there were a lot of brand new courses for me, and it is kind of the same way here. Although, it is nice that everybody is on the same playing field. Nobody has a real advantage. No one knows the breaks on the greens any more than the next player does.

Q. You took a long break between tournaments. Do you feel you are in playing shape this week?

MATT KUCHAR: Yeah, I do. It was a nice break. Boy, I had four weeks off and they flew by. I did a lot of fun things after Pebble Beach. I went down to San Francisco, spent a few days in San Francisco before I came down here for the Media Day. It was almost as if that week never existed; that week after Pebble Beach. Basically, I spent I think one night in my own house, just kind of traveled around doing some fun things.

Then I spent a week out in Phoenix doing a workout program at Athlete's Performance. After that I started practicing a bit and getting ready for this week.

Q. This is a very different course from Heron Bay. Can you compare the two?

MATT KUCHAR: I don't know if there's that much comparison. They are each Florida courses, so you have some bermudagrass. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of comparisons to be made, I really don't think. I would guess, however, if you really looked at it, you've got, what, four par 5s, four par 3s and the rest par 4s.

I mean, I wouldn't even say it's really worth noting that much, the comparisons or similarities.

Q. What kind of player does this course, perhaps, best fit? It doesn't look like it's an overly long course.

MATT KUCHAR: It all comes down to, I think, the guy that makes the most putts, the guy that's on. I mean, it wouldn't really matter if you're a long hitter or a short hitter here. If you're hitting well and making a lot of putts, you're probably going to come out as champion.

Q. What were you doing at Athlete's Performance? Was there a specific workout program that you were trying to get established that you've carried over?

MATT KUCHAR: Just had the opportunity. I was invited to go out and see what they did out there, and that's something that's always fascinated me. I've always kind of liked the training aspect, preparation. You figure you might as well just be fit; it can only help, by being fit.

I would say that what they specialize in is preventative maintenance to kind of prevent injury. I was out there a week, and I guess for the normal person that goes out there, normally spends five, six weeks out there; and I went out there a week thinking it was a pretty good amount for me. With all of the traveling that I do, it's hard to find a vacant week that you can just take off and go somewhere else.

So, there's no real magic potion in a week. It's not like I came back feeling much stronger, much fitter. I don't think there's any real magic potion in a week. You kind of learn how to work out smarter, I would say. You gain a great deal of knowledge there.

One of the neat things is we hardly lifted a dumbbell. It wasn't that thing where you were really doing heavy weights. You were doing very little weights, yet you would be breathing hard and sweating hard. I thought it was a great way to work out. I thought it was a pretty neat thing to try to prevent injuries, because everybody knows an injury can just set you back much further than you expect. An injury can really set you back.

So just strengthening the little muscles around joints is kind of their team.

Q. So if you were not working with dumbbells, what were you working with?

MATT KUCHAR: Body weight.

Q. Just strictly working against your own resistance?

MATT KUCHAR: A lot of it. A lot of it was.

Q. Did you bring some of those drills back that you now incorporate into your own daily work out routine?

MATT KUCHAR: A good bit. A whole lot of their exercises have to do with stretching. After every exercise we did we did a lot of stretching.

The first day you're there, you go through a pretty immense examination. They do body fat tests, they do stretching tests, they do kind of flexibility coordination tests, and they really look you up and down to check out where your weaknesses are and specialize a workout around you.

But for most people that are there, they do a lot of rotational work, which applies to about all sports, including golf. For me, one of my weaknesses is flexibility, so doing the stretching as much as they did was quite helpful. I've kind of included that in the things I do. And it's something that's easy to do in a hotel room, which is nice. A lot of workouts you get from people, you just don't have the ability to do that in a hotel room. You need weights, you need different machines, and with these you really don't need machines or weights at all.

Q. Your last victory you jumped way up in the World Rankings and got into the Masters. Is that on your mind again right now?

MATT KUCHAR: I would definitely love to make the Masters, for sure.

But I don't know if that would be a real goal to think about. I think you just go out there and just play and whatever happens, happens. I think things just take care of themselves. If you play well, getting into the Masters will take care of itself.

Q. Are you disappointed that after your victory last year, you didn't do well enough after that to qualify for the Masters this year, getting into the Top-50 in the World Rankings?

MATT KUCHAR: Well, I wouldn't say disappointed. It would be great to make the Masters. It's something you strive for every year. It's always kind of like a bonus, though. It's something you don't really take for granted. It's always pretty special just to be invited to play in the Masters.


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