HILTON HEAD ISLAND -- He may just be the hottest golfer on the PGA Tour, even if he doesn't have a tournament victory this year.
Matt Kuchar is a name you should know, and if it isn't, it may be one you will know come Sunday afternoon.
Or so he hopes.
Kuchar has played nine events in 2011, and he has finished among the top 10 in six of them. He's made the cut in every one.
Again, though, no wins.
The 43rd annual Heritage could be the first of the season for the Georgia Tech alum. Kuchar realizes that much, but he says the possibility hasn't popped into his head because he won't allow it. The close calls simply keep him optimistic.
"I try not to ask too much from the game of golf," said Kuchar, an 11-year professional. "I'd like to just keep playing well. Golf is such a funny game. I think all of us know ... that you never know what you're going to have that next day. I've been fortunate to keep some good golf going for a decent stretch now, and I'd like to continue it."
There's reason to believe the stretch will continue this week at Harbour Town Golf Links. Ignoring the absence of a championship here,
Kuchar has quietly put together a respectable Heritage resume.
After missing the cut in his first appearance in 2003, Kuchar has made six consecutive cuts and finished in the top-15 three times, including a tie for 14th last April. Most importantly, he is steadily gaining confidence as he acquires a better understanding of the unique, narrow course. Kuchar cited the par-5 No. 5 as an example, where he has learned specific spots in the fairway that produce better angles to the green.
"I do think there's a lot to be said for course knowledge," he said. "However, that being said, I think course knowledge is only beneficial if you can hit it where you want to hit it."
Kuchar has been doing that with remarkable consistency for the better part of three months.
At one point during his press conference Wednesday afternoon, Kuchar was asked if his putter was his hottest club. After a quick moment to ponder the question, he replied that his putter, his driver and his irons were all working in his favor.
Certainly that lends to his advantage at Harbour Town, a course that requires such versatility.
"You kind of look down the list of champions, and you see all different sorts of players, but all very good ball-strikers," Kuchar said. "This is definitely a ball-striker's course. You have to hit a lot of different shots."
MATT KUCHAR BY THE NUMBERS
1 -- Ranking on last season's PGA Tour money list
3 -- Career PGA Tour wins
10 -- Rank in the Official World Golf Rankings, third best in this year's field