Matt Kuchar believed he had waltzed to a 5&4 victory over Bernd Wiesberger in Wednesday’s opening round of the WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship, but that was before he realized his error.
The defending champ, 4-up on the 14th green, drilled a long birdie putt and took his cap off to shake hands with his opponent. Except there was a bit of unfinished business, as Kuchar realized he had forgotten to replace his ball marker after moving it out of the way of Wiesberger, who was first to putt.
"Here I was with a 16‑footer to win the match and felt really good about the line, and I completely forget to move the mark back," Kuchar told reporters about the incident. "So made the putt, thought that was the end of the match, shook hands."
Kuchar, who conceded he was as conversant with the rules as, say, his Presidents Cup playing partner, Tiger Woods, said Wiesberger’s caddie questioned his looper about the wayward ball marker. Despite his hope that the rules would penalize him one stroke and he’d get another shot at making the putt, it was not to be.
So it was on to the 15th, where both players made par, and then to No. 16, where Kuchar’s par knocked Wiesberger out of the tournament.