Rob Lee on Matt Kuchar, Tiger Woods and Lee Janzen's footwear
Rob Lee blogs on delight for Matt Kuchar, woe for Tiger Woods and Lee Janzen's footwear faux pas.
Last Updated: 06/06/13 5:18pm
Kuchar, who won the WGC-Accenture Match Play in February, nearly seized the Crowne Plaza Invitational title two weeks ago despite not being at his best in the final round, but he strung it all together at Muirfield Village on a very tough course.
He knows how to get the job done in good company, as proved by previous victories at the Players Championship, the Honda Classic, and the Barclays, and he is now up to fourth in the rankings after taking his second trophy of the season.
Tiger Woods seemingly has a monopoly on the world number one spot at the moment but Kuchar could get as high as number two if he keeps on fine-tuning his game - and the man currently in that spot, Rory McIlroy, doesn't improve.
There is not an element of Kuchar's game that requires massive surgery and it should be case of evolution rather than revolution for him - but we know that he is not afraid to be radical if he feels it's necessary.
The Floridian topped the PGA Tour money list in 2010, but came out the next season with a brand new, more compact putting style; I thought it was madness at the time but it has certainly paid dividends and taken his game to new heights.
Kuchar's best result in a Major was his tie for third at the 2012 Masters, but he has finished in the top 10 in each of the 'big four' and now looks in perfect position to win one, perhaps as early as next week at the US Open.
He is not the straightest or longest driver in the world, but he is straight and long enough and consistently puts scores on the doors, and that will make him one of the favourites for the event in Pennsylvania.
Woods will be THE favourite for the second Major of the year but he had a bit of a nightmare at the Memorial, carding the second-worst score of his professional career with a seven-over-par 79 on day three in Ohio, including a front nine 44.
According to the stats, Tiger - who has won at Muirfield Village five times but finished 65th this year - was fifth in fairways hit and fifth for greens in regulation, and if that's true he must have been horrendous on the greens.
It's not ideal preparation for the US Open and, considering he hadn't played since winning the Players Championship in mid-May, people may think that he could have slotted another tournament into his schedule in the build-up to Merion.
But you can't really criticise the game-plan of a man that has 14 Majors to his name, and Tiger is not like Wayne Rooney in that he does not need to play every week to stay sharp.
McIlroy, though, is still searching for his modus operandi to prepare for the year's big events - even though he has already won two of them - and his schedule is far more moveable than that of Woods who, at 37, is set in his ways.
Rory shoehorned in a trip to the Valero Texas Open ahead of the Masters and has decided to skip a tournament this week and get in some practice at Merion instead, with the help of coach Dave Stockton.
McIlroy's schedule will evolve over time and he will eventually get it just how he wants it - and the same applies to his golf game, which could quite easily fire again in Pennsylvania.
However, two-time US Open champion Lee Janzen won't play at Merion after being kicked out of a qualifying event at the Woodmont Country Club in Maryland for wearing metal spikes on his shoes.
Janzen apparently saw the e-mail telling him of this rule but didn't give it a thorough read so I suppose he is partly to blame, though I'm sure he might have been more angry had he shot 65 in the opening round and not the 75 that left him too much to do on day two.
Still, it's a joke that you can't qualify for the US Open in spikes but can lift the trophy wearing them a few days later - and you wonder whether the fate that befell Janzen would have befallen Woods or McIlroy...
ROB'S SKY BET TIPS
I think Pablo Larrazabal will win the Lyoness Open in Austria; he is going to crack up a course up one of these weeks and I reckon he just might beat home favourite and defending champion Bernd Wiesberger. Meanwhile, at the FedEx St Jude Classic, I am going to go for Ryan Palmer; he just missed out on a place in the US Open but he played very well at the Players Championship.
Don't forget to check out Rob's weekly tips at Sky Bet.