For as long as there are professional golfers, there will also be fools who think they’re capable of beating them head-to-head.
One such fool is Ray Whitney, the former professional hockey player and current scratch handicap, who belongs to Gozzer Ranch in Harrison, ID. Through his spheres of influence (the NHL) and affluence (at Gozzer Ranch), Whitney has been fortunate to see and interact with a large number of PGA Tour pros, Matt Kuchar chief among them.
Kuchar is also a member at Gozzer Ranch and, as Whitney explained on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar, the pro and the Joe had a duel to remember (or forget!).
“Those of you who don’t know me out there, I’m not very tall, but I like to be a little cocky,” Whitney said. “I was very fortunate to win the club championship, and obviously Matt’s up there, he didn’t play in it. But I was at dinner with him when he got back, and I’d had just enough tequila in me to say to him, ‘Matt, just so you know, you’re the second-best golfer on property, and I had them put a ‘club champion’ sign on my golf cart.’ Just to give it to him.”
Kuchar, who has a reputation for his surprisingly wry streak, heard Whitney’s message loud and clear.
“He laughed and said, ‘Okay, what time are you playing tomorrow?’ And I said. ’10:10, same as always.’ And he says ‘Okay, I’ll be there tomorrow.'”
The next morning, Whitney met Kuchar on the first tee.
“He shows up at 10:09 in his pickleball uniform, he hasn’t even hit a ball yet, he’s coming in from the pickleball court,” Whitney remembers. “He changes into his golf shoes, we go out there, we play, and I’m mouthy right from the start as I normally am. We’re both three-under through four, and so I’m thinking, ‘We’re hanging!'”
No sooner did the thought come into Whitney’s head than did his round begin to crumble. By the time they reached the turn, Kuchar had taken a comfortable lead. By the time the afternoon rolled around, the 9-time PGA Tour winner had cruised to victory — naturally, with no warmup.
“Then he went on to shoot at 61, and ended up beating me by nine,” Whitney said. “The humble pie was served correctly. I knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t know it would happen like that.”
So, what did Whitney expect? Well, he says, not quite the whipping he received.
“I didn’t expect to beat him, there are enough good players at Gozzer Ranch for me to know that, but I didn’t know I was going to get an absolute a– whooping like that.”
To hear the rest of Whitney’s Subpar interview, including who his least favorite pro to lose to is, check out the video below.