A tall, lean man smiles warmly and introduces himself to me as "Matt" at the opening cocktail party on the grounds of the Mauna Lani Bay resort in Kona, Hawaii. We shake, I identify myself and begin my standard opening inquiry. "Where you from?
Matt is from Georgia, and adds "I'm a professional golfer." Good for him, I think. This guy is like a club pro or maybe teaches rich kids how to uses a wedge. Probably living the life, though. At that point, Nancy S comes by and I intro them, and he starts explaining to Nancy the levels of professional golf, the highest being the PGA tour which this guy Matt plays in. Hmmm, maybe the guy can play.
But, he can't convey to Nancy the elite-ness of the PGA tour. "What's your sport? Baseball? Football?" Matt asks. Nancy shakes her head. "Soccer, then?" No. He switches gears, knowing Nancy is a chef. "I'm Ukrainian. My last name is Kuchar. That means "cook" in Ukranian."
This guy is Matt Kuchar one of the best, most popular golfers in America. Later, when I text a photo of me and my boy Matt Kuchar together, to Matt Molina, a golfer and chef, he emails back "Koooooooooouch!" . Matt Kuchar is so loved he has that Looooooooou Pinellla, BRuuuuuuuuuuuuuce Springsteen thing going on.
Turns out Matt and his wife Sybi have heard often of Mozza. as his former agent Andy Kipper (I think) was a regular when he lived in Los Angeles. We chat about a few things including Georgia, (the state) which is also where Sybi is from. I use most of my Georgia knowledge up by saying "Augusta National. The Masters."
And that's the thing that gets me right there. Matt Kuchar came in 3rd place in the 2012 masters. He was even tied for the lead on the back nine in the fourth round. But, when I bought up the Masters, he didn't say a word, Sybi and Matt just briefly glance at each other and smiled. Cool, Georgia style.