05/14/12 - 08:42am
It helps to be as steady as the day is long.
Starting the day one behind and playing with 54-hole leader Na, Kuchar got off to a shaky start with a bogey but finished with four birdies against only one other bogey to shoot 2-under-par 70. He finished 13 shots under par and two ahead of Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Martin Laird and Ben Curtis.
It was Kuchar's fourth Tour title and first since the 2010 Barclays. Hitting 62.5% of the fairways and 73.6% of greens in regulation, Kuchar never got himself into serious danger on a course full of it and didn't make more than a bogey on one of the toughest tracks on Tour and shot 68-68-69-70.
Playing against a guy who may be a distraction isn't going to bother me. I knew before the round started it wasn't going to get the best of me. … My demeanor probably is one of my strong suits for the game of golf.
"Kevin's a great guy, nice to everybody. He's just fighting through demons. It's not an envious thing to do. I'm glad it's not happening to me."
Kuchar took the outright lead with a birdie at No. 9 and extended it with another birdie at No. 12. He had a three-shot lead facing a birdie putt from 15 feet on the 16th when he looked across the lake and saw Fowler can a birdie putt of his own to pull within two. Kuchar then made his putt to increase his cushion.
Fowler, going for his second consecutive win, started fast with two birdies in his first four holes, but he lost momentum with a double bogey on No. 5. He rallied to make it interesting with four birdies on the back nine. He could have made things really interesting if he had made a 7-foot birdie putt on the final hole but watched it slide past on the right.
Na, who didn't make enough putts and took hundreds of waggles as he struggled with his pre-shot routine throughout the tournament, and backed off numerous shots and purposely swung through and missed so he could start over, finished with a 76 and in a tie for seventh.
"I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I had a lot of people heckling me out there, also people pulling for me, which I appreciated," Na said. "I do need to work on my pre-shot routine. I do need to play faster. But the average golfer has no clue how much pressure we're playing under and how tough it is and how much of a fight for it it is mentally. I honestly think with all that going on, I did pretty well fighting. I had a good fight. I hung in there."
On one shot in the third round, he took 48 seconds to hit his shot after he first got over the ball.
"I know the whole world is watching. I'm trying to play as fast as I could," Na said Sunday. "I was 40 yards ahead of Matt basically trying to sprint out to my ball so I can get to it with extra time.
"I'm going to try to take out the whole waggle. I'm going to try to do a little up-and-down behind the ball, but it's going to take time, practice and tournaments, and I'm going to try to take out the whole waggle.
"Honestly, it's going to be a battle."
"I'll just keep working. I felt that I did it well in spurts again; just need to be a little bit more consistent, and as I said earlier in the week, just got to play the par-5s better than I did," said Woods, who made seven birdies in 16 attempts on the par-5s. "That's something I didn't do. I had a lot of irons into the par 5s and didn't take care of them."
Mickelson, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier in the week, got it going early in the final round with two birdies in four holes but couldn't keep the early momentum going.
"I played pretty well this week. I did not score well. I didn't salvage the shots around the greens the way I wanted to," Mickelson said. "I didn't putt that well. Certainly I didn't putt as well as I had been putting all year and didn't post a number.
"When it's all said and done, the only thing that matters in this game and in this tournament is the score, and I didn't post a good enough score. But the game doesn't feel far off; just a little click here or there and hopefully I'll get it turned around."