Harris English and Matt Kuchar looking to make it four wins at the season-ending QBE Shootout

The duo are the defending champions and they have a formidable record at Tiburon GC in Naples, Florida.

There are golfers with good course and tournament records.

There are golfers with excellent course and tournament records.

And then there is Harris English and Matt Kuchar at Tiburon GC in Naples, Florida at the PGA Tour's season-ending QBE Shootout - their record is, simply put, sensational.

They've teed it up six times, they've won three, finished second twice, and in two of the wins they absolutely thrashed the field.

In 2013 they won by seven shots, but they bettered that last year when triumphing by nine.

On a course - and in a tournament - that is designed to yield birdies and eagles to separate yourselves from the field in that manner just once is remarkable. To do it twice emphasises how much they are at one with the test.

Perhaps the only fly in the ointment is their form coming into the title defence this week.

The bad news is that Kuchar has made just one top 10 all year and English has struggled since the Ryder Cup.

The better news is that Kuchar's highlight of the year was in an alternate format (match play - he was third at Austin CC in the WGC) and he's also gone sub-70 in 11 of his last dozen rounds.

"It wasn't a banner year for me, but it's turned a corner," he insisted. "I had a nice steady Fall period where I feel like I'm starting to get more and more control of the golf ball again."

English can take heart that he thrashed a third round 63 last week in the Hero World Challenge. He also pointed out, ahead of the first round, that the win here 12 months ago provided the spark for his wonderful 2021.

"It's been a great year and I would like to say it started here," he said. "We played great here, I think we won by nine shots last year and you can take a lot of momentum from that. I was playing great golf going into Maui last year and ended up winning the tournament, kicked on from there."

Let's take a closer look at what they said ahead of Friday's first round, plus catch up with the week's left-field pairing of Bubba Watson and Lexi Thompson.

English on loving the tournament

"Been here seven times and it's just a fun way to cap off a great year. To be here in Naples, the weather's awesome, it's a fun tournament, getting to play with one of my buddies, Matt. We've had a lot of success here and it's just a great week."

Kuchar on the event

"This is an invite you look forward to every year. Being defending champs, you know you're going to get the invite, so it's definitely special. Harris and I have just had a great run and really been fun. Every year I look forward to getting another chance to play with him. So excited to see him bust out with a great year, be on the Ryder Cup team, do some really special things this year. It's been fun to see kind of the evolution of his career."

English on why they make such a great partnership

"I feel like we complement each other really well. We both are really good putters, Matt's one of the best putters I've ever played with and we just seem to hole a lot of putts around this place. He's obviously a really straight driver, really consistent. I hit it a little further than him so I try to give it a rip on some par 5s, but we just stay in a lot of holes. Somehow this course fits our eye and we have a lot of looks at birdies."

Kuchar on the pairing

"I think the better question might be why have we not played the Zurich yet? That may be the better question. We're still working on making that work out at some point. It's been a whole lot of fun playing with Harris. I get to see parts of the course I'm not used to seeing, hitting irons I'm not used to hitting into greens and it's been a great match-up and a great formula."

Bubba Watson on what he's done since last playing in August

"I took some time off watching the kids. My son started playing tackle football, so being home, wanted to be a dad. Went and watched the ladies play in the Solheim Cup and realized I wasn't good enough, so I needed to sit back and think about my career. It was awesome watching those ladies play, inspiring."

Watson on partnering with Lexi Thompson

"I said I wanted Lexi as a partner. When I got on Tour the first time, the Korn Ferry Tour, her brother Nick was my wife's favorite player. So spending time with him at the Solheim Cup (he now caddies for Thompson), it was good to catch up because I haven't seen him in a few years. Yeah, just brings back memories. And now playing with her, watching her game, admiring her game, seeing her ability. Pretty special. To be able to see first-hand is going to be a treat this week."

Thompson on Watson at the Solheim

"It was amazing. It was very shocking to have him there, wasn't expecting it. Having him there alongside us, supporting us, giving us advice whenever we needed it, it was truly amazing. That week's so intense and to have somebody like Bubba out there supporting us and helping us out along the way, there's nothing like it. It meant the world to us."

Tournament format

Friday - Scramble: both players tee off, pick the best ball, both play from that spot and so on until they hole out. It's a form of the game that demands aggression - since 2014 every first round leading duo went sub-60 (four of them sub-57).

Saturday - Greensomes: both players tee off, again they select the best ball, but they play alternate-shot from that point.

Sunday - Fourballs: both golfers play their own ball, the better score counts.

READ MORE: Sam Burns and Billy Horschel targetting a winning send off for the year at the QBE Shootout

Latest news