DUBLIN, Ohio -- Most of the perks from winning the Memorial were evident to Matt Kuchar soon after his 20-foot birdie putt tumbled into the final hole Sunday.
He looked just beyond the 18th green to where three-year-old son Carson was giving a high-five to tournament host Jack Nicklaus. He had the first multiple-win season of his PGA Tour career. Kuchar went to a career-best No. 4 in the world ranking. He is all but assured of returning to Muirfield Village in October as part of the Presidents Cup team.
"To walk off the green and to greet Mr. Nicklaus and have him congratulate me, that's something I'll certainly never forget," he said.
Perhaps the greatest benefit was one only Kuchar could feel -- confidence.
And that's a big deal with the U.S. Open approaching.
Kuchar missed only one fairway and held off a hard-charging Kevin Chappell over the last three holes to close with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory. The win came one week after he was runner-up by one shot at the Colonial.
"Great golf breeds more great golf," Kuchar said. "Winning tournaments breeds winning more tournaments. Anytime you can get comfortable playing in that final group, finishing off a tournament, winning a tournament is a huge amount of confidence. Heading into Merion, I'll have a lot of confidence.
"I'm looking forward to my chances there at Merion."
He sure played the kind of golf that goes a long way at the U.S. Open, which starts June 13 at Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia.
Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., and David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., both shot a 71 in the final round to finish tied for 21st.
Muirfield Village was such a demanding test that Tiger Woods had two triple bogeys in the same tournament for the first time since 1997 and wound up with the second-highest tournament score in his career at 8-over 296.
"It happens. It happens to us all," Woods said. "Go home next week and practice."
-- The Associated Press