Recap: 2012 PLAYERS Championship

THE PLAYERS 2012: Matt Kuchar

For all the stretches of real estate that capture your attention at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, no corner of it consistently shines quite like that walk down 16 fairway when you can’t help but look to your right. The island-green 17th.

So, Matt Kuchar, did you catch a glimpse at what Rickie Fowler — dressed head-to-toe in orange, no less — did standing out there on the island late in round four of THE PLAYERS Championship 2012?

“I absolutely saw the putt disappear,” Kuchar said.

With strong local ties (his parents live in Ponte Vedra Beach), Kuchar had a loyal following as he walked down 16 with a three-stroke lead. But he also had a front-row seat to Fowler’s birdie putt that cut the lead to two and thrilled the kid’s passionate fans.

Stress? Not Kuchar. For him, it was smile and laugh time.

“It just doesn’t seem like anything is going to upset him too much,” said competitor Martin Laird, who played a few groups in front of Kuchar and shot 67 to finish tied for second.

With water everywhere at 16-17-18, Kuchar needed the “What, Me Worry?” persona like never before. And he delivered: A birdie at 16 put him back up by three, a bogey at 17 hardly crushed his chances, a par at 18 for a round of 70 and at 13-under 275 he won by two over a foursome of talented names (Fowler, Laird, Ben Curtis and Zach Johnson).

Sparkling crystal was held by Kuchar, but his smile was actually brighter. “And,” he said, “it’s a complete natural reaction.”