Matt Kuchar has always been known for his “aw-shucks” nonchalance and vast, beaming grin that looks like he is being paid per square metre of dentistry.

There have been times in 2019, however, when that trademark smile has lost plenty of its lustre as a variety of contentious incidents saw his popularity plummet like Kim Darroch’s job prospects.

There was the stooshie involving the miserly payment of a caddie, to an awkward squabble with Sergio Garcia and an excruciating rules rigmarole at The Memorial when he tried to wangle a free drop when there was clearly no case for one.

The widely perceived Mr Nice Guy had suddenly been transformed into the panto villain.

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Kuchar confesses that he doesn’t do social media nor does he read any clippings about him. It’s probably a good job.

Some of the more robust reactions in the dismal court of public opinion that is Twitter used the kind of colourful language you would get at a squaddie’s reunion.

You have got to be made of stern stuff in this old world but the fact his own grandmother got wind of some of the more unsavoury character assassinations proved hard to take for the 41-year-old.


“It was difficult,” reflected Kuchar ahead of today’s first round in the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. “I don’t do social media so that helped not to see much.

“But hearing from my grandmother about the things she was hearing was really tough. The fact she called me to say ‘I can’t believe what they are saying’ was hard. You want to make your parents proud, your grandparents proud. To have them hear some of the things said about me was a position I never wanted to put them in.

“But difficult situations [he’s been in this season], you learn from them. You don’t learn from victories very often. You learn from your setbacks.”

One ally this season has been the former Open and Scottish Open champion, Phil Mickelson.

“He’s pulled me aside a couple of times and said ‘this is a tough deal but I’ve been through worse, it will pass’.”