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Matt Kuchar Hitting Aces in Golf and Tennis

December 7, 2015 06:07 PM

By: Rick Limpert, Special to USTA Southern

GEORGIA RESIDENT AND PGA TOUR STAR SAYS HE JUMPS AT THE CHANCE TO TAKE THE COURT WITH HIS FAMILY

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Matt Kuchar and Venus Williams take on the Jensen brothers at Sea Island, Georgia.

SEA ISLAND, Ga. ­­-Sea Island Ga. resident, Matt Kuchar, may be best known as one of the top golfers in the world, but before he earned a golf scholarship to Georgia Tech and claimed seven PGA Tour titles, he was a top junior tennis player in Florida.

His connection to tennis continued when he married former Yellow Jacket tennis player and Georgia native Sybi Parker. The Kuchars now have two sons and play USTA tournaments in the area when their schedules permit. In fact, in 2009, Matt and Sybi won four matches enroute to winning the consolation bracket of the USTA National Husband/Wife Doubles Championship in Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida. The Kuchars now make tennis a family event at Sea Island and wherever golf takes them.

Most sports fans may not know that Kuchar rose to No. 5 in Florida junior singles. His father, Peter, was a former college standout at Stetson University. After his family added golf to their membership at Heathrow Country Club in Lake Mary, Florida, Kuchar hit the links more than the tennis courts, and his golf career was born. That's not to say his love for tennis faded; it was just put on hold until he started playing competitively again with Sybi.

"I know I'm certainly the weak link on this team," he adds, "She's as strong as anyone out (there) when she's playing well."

That's not to take anything away from the 6'4" Kuchar.

"My serve is maybe not as powerful as I would like for my height, but it's consistent," said Kuchar at a PGA Tour stop in 2015. "I hit aces from time to time, and I liken it to making a long putt; you may not expect it to go it, but I'll take it every time."

Luke Jensen, Sea Island Tennis' touring professional, has followed Kuchar's career in golf and watches his tennis game. The former French Open doubles champion said that even though Kuchar is a professional golfer, he takes tennis seriously.

"As a professional athlete, Matt does a lot of his fitness (work) on the tennis court. He looks and works like a pro on the court as he's not just rallying and hitting the balls back to his partner or opponent, he's bashing balls!"

Jensen says Matt and Sybi take their young sons, Cameron and Carson, with them to the courts as they hit balls.

"They are the perfect example of what parents should do to get kids into tennis," explains, Jensen, who along with younger brother, Murphy, won the French in 1993. "They make a family outing of it. Matt and Sybi hit balls and, of course, the kids want to join in. Being a golfer and sportsman, and with Sybi being an athlete, they've created a ‘culture of character’ in their family, and that has carried over to the entire club."

Jensen referenced a Sea Island club event they had this April where a doubles match between Kuchar and none other than Venus Williams vs.the Jensen brothers materialized. It was the Monday before the famed Masters tournament.

"It was the Monday of Masters week, and he should've been at Augusta. Here he was on the tennis court playing with Venus Williams as his partner. They won the coin toss, chose to serve and Venus said, ‘Matt will serve.’ “

Kuchar said he's competitive in just about everything he does from golf to tennis to table tennis.  "I'm always competitive. I want to play well and perform well."

Being competitive in two of what many call "lifetime sports," Kuchar admits it's sometimes easier to hop on the tennis court for a quick hit than lace up for 18 holes of golf, plus it brings back memories of when he met his wife.

"Going out and hitting tennis balls was something easy for the two of us to do and made for a fun date."

 

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