In the pressure cooker that is the Ryder Cup, a light-hearted and easy-going team room is crucial to success. Europe has seemed to crack the code of when to be serious, when to bring in a motivational speaker and when to let loose a little bit. As the United States Ryder Cup Task Force and subsequent U.S. Ryder Cup committee has tried to duplicate the European blueprint, the “let loose” portion of that formula has already been achieved.
Matt Kuchar, the rosy-cheeked, smiling Georgia Tech product, has a little devil brewing within and he has the right sense of humor and temperament to bring a sense of ease to the United States team room.
Just how far is Kooch willing to go? Jim McCabe of Golfweek.com offers this example.
To get a sense for why Kuchar is such a maestro with the needle, drift back to the Memorial Tournament in June. A showcase event by itself, it would be the first appearance for Mickelson since it became public that he had settled an “insider trading” mess by repaying close to $1 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission for profits made by buying and selling Dean Foods stock.
When Mickelson saw that he would be paired Thursday and Friday with Kuchar, he knew it would be bad. “Give it to me now,” Mickelson said when he saw Kuchar on Tuesday, but the guy with the perpetual smile declined. Because he had a captive audience for two days, Kuchar said he was going to drag it out and have more fun.
The next day, Kuchar sauntered into the lunch room, found Mickelson and sat down. Big smile, of course. Then, he stretched so that Mickelson could see what was on his shirt — a freshly made-up Dean Foods logo.
“I was sitting right there,” Woodland said. “I was crying laughing.”
Kuchar explained to Mickelson that somehow “a million dollars” had become available, so Dean Foods had signed him to an endorsement deal. Michael Spinks lasted longer against Mike Tyson.
During a week when the pressure couldn’t be more omnipresent around the U.S. team, Kuchar’s sense of humor might be the key to breaking the European winning streak.