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Sunday 10 December 2017

Curious Kuchar asks former winners for secret to success

AMERICAN Matt Kuchar hopes that taking on board advice from numerous former Open champions will improve his chances at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake.

The 36-year-old is playing for only the fifth time at the world's oldest major and has a best finish of joint ninth in 2012 at Lytham.

He admits his links game still needs work but he has been trying to learn from the best, having practised this week with players who have lifted the Claret Jug 12 times between them.

"I've had four practice rounds and four great Open champions to play with," he said. "I played with Tiger (three titles) on Sunday, played with Nick Faldo (three) Monday, Tom Watson (five) Tuesday and David Duval (one) today.

"I hope I get some unique perspective and some of that mystical Open Championship to rub off a little on me."

Kuchar is not averse to asking advice from other senior pros and in the past has spoken to twice Open champion and six-time major winner Lee Trevino and Ray Floyd, who has four majors to his name, in a bid to improve.

"I've spent time asking a lot of people," he added.

"I sought out Lee Trevino for help with the wedge game. I sought out Ray Floyd with pitching around the greens.

"I was just trying to take guys that I knew were the best at what they did and figure out if there's anything they had to share that I could possibly use.

"There are a few things that Lee told me that I still use in my wedge shots and there are things that Ray Floyd showed me that I put in play.

"I don't have the array that either one of those guys had of short-game shots but I'm still learning.

"I think that's something that I love about the game is the ability to continue to learn, to continue to get better and finally feel comfortable enough with who I am and with my golf game to be able to seek guys out to ask for help.

"I think when I first came out as a rookie I didn't want to get in anybody's way and was too scared to ask for help, but now I'm comfortable enough to seek some guys out and to go ahead and ask them for help."

And Woods' Ryder Cup 
team-mate is pleased to see his friend back in the game after more than two months out after a back operation.

"When Tiger is in the field, certainly there's a lot of attention from fans, from media, from players, to see just how he's doing," Kuchar said.

"He certainly adds to excitement. He's still the biggest name in the game and he still has that pull and the kids today grew up idolising him."

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