The controversial WGC-Match Play ruling involving Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia stirred up some strong emotions from across the golf world. From announcers to players to caddies and more, everyone seemed to have a take on the madness.
James Hahn was watching the broadcast and had a strong reaction in real time. “Did Kuchar seriously not give a 6 inch putt to Sergio just now?” he asked on Twitter. “And called a rules official to confirm he did not give him the putt. Seriously? And the announcers are siding with Kuchar? Shame on you guys. Sergio deserves better than that.”
He received some pushback, but held firm on the point. “Sergio was not hot headed at that time. All Matt had to do was say he gave him that putt and move on. How can you honestly want to win a hole that way?
Lee Westwood lamented the entire situation. “Nobody comes out a winner from this incident,” he wrote on Twitter. “Sergio, Kuch or the rules (once again). If Kuch says it’s good, it’s good. After or not. Just makes golf look stupid and grabs the headlines. Which we don’t need.”
Nobody comes out a winner from this incident. Sergio, Kuch or the rules(once again). If Kuch says it’s good, it’s good. After or not. Just makes golf look stupid and grabs the headlines. Which we don’t need.
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) March 30, 2019
Why even bother??? Ref:- would you have given him that? Kuch:- yes . Ref:- ok let’s move on. Sergio , don’t do that again. Sergio:- ok ref. Done…. Then the headlines are about Lucas’s win over Tiger and not this shite. But everyone loves a bit of controversy!
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) March 31, 2019
The general sentiment from across the golf world seemed to be that the situation was avoidable. Ian Finnis, Tommy Fleetwood’s caddie, took Sergio’s side.
“What a joke!!” he wrote. “Kuchar showed no class there, I think 99.9% matches this week that don’t happen! I no Sergio should not assume but come on!!!”
Tony Johnstone, a former European Tour player and current SkySports broadcaster, did not mince words, calling Kuchar a “smiling assassin.”
On the broadcast, NBC announcer and former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger criticized Garcia. “I think Sergio spun that whole debacle into being personal. Sergio is hot-blooded. And I think he tried to make this thing personal, change the whole kind of mindset. Once you miss, you don’t just slap the next one. You have to be looking at your opponent. Just very careless.”
As for Kuchar and Garcia themselves? Both were trying to look at the bright side. After acknowledging how awkward the scenario had become on Sunday, Kuchar rallied to the finals, where he fell to Kevin Kisner 4&2.
“I love the course. Love the event,” Kuchar said after his finals loss. “It’s one event I look forward to every year. Great crowds. Nice that the sun came out for the back nine today. Felt awfully good. It’s an event I look forward to every year.”
Garcia, for his part, accepted responsibility after the match Saturday. “It’s quite simple. I screwed it up, it’s as simple as that. Obviously I missed my putt and I kind of tapped it with the back of my putter before he said anything,” he said.
“It’s fine. At the end of the day, I’m the one that made the mistake.”