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Jack Nicklaus offers words of encouragement to Matt Kuchar ahead of Canadian Open

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - JULY 23:  Jordan Spieth of the United States holds the Claret Jug as he is congratulated by Matt Kuchar of the United States on the 18
Image: Jordan Spieth holds the Claret Jug as Matt Kuchar looks on in Southport

Jack Nicklaus has offered words of encouragement to Matt Kuchar after the latter's disappointment at The Open.

Kuchar is bidding to claim his first PGA Tour title since 2014 in the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario this week having suffered on a dramatic final day at Royal Birkdale.

Kuchar went into the final round three shots adrift of playing partner Jordan Spieth, but found himself one ahead with five holes to play after Spieth's fifth bogey of the day on the 13th.

However, despite playing the next four holes in two under par, Kuchar arrived on the 18th tee two shots behind after an inspired Spieth went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie on the same stretch.

US golfer Jordan Spieth (C) shakes hands with US golfer Matt Kuchar on the 18th green after their final rounds on day four of the 2017 Open Golf Championsh
Image: Spieth shakes hands with Kuchar on the 18th green after their final round

A closing bogey meant Kuchar eventually finished where he started, three shots off Spieth and admitting it was a "crushing" blow to come so close to a first major championship.

"To be this close, to taste it with five holes to go, it's a hard one to sit back and take," said Kuchar, whose previous best major finish was a tie for third in the 2012 Masters.

And Ancaster course designer Nicklaus was on hand to offer words of advice and condolence when Kuchar - whose last PGA Tour win came the week after he was fifth in the 2014 Masters - arrived on site.

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Image: Jack Nicklaus has offered some consolatory words to Kuchar

"We talked about how I thought he played an awfully good tournament, did awfully well, and just he ran into a buzzsaw on the last few holes," 18-time major winner Nicklaus said. "That's what it amounted to.

"He lost by three shots as it turned out and Jordan holed putts on 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. If he misses three of them, it's a tie. If he misses four of them, Matt wins."

Kuchar will at least have happy memories of the Canadian Open and this week's venue of Glen Abbey Golf Course, where he was second in 2013, seventh in 2015 and ninth last year.

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World number one Dustin Johnson has also made the trip from Southport to Ontario after following a third round of 64 in the Open with a closing 77, while defending champion Jhonattan Vegas has missed his last five cuts in succession.

"I've had a horrible summer to put it the best way," Vegas said.

"But it's always fun coming back to places where you've had great results, especially wins, so definitely it's a good refresher from the past couple of months that have been a bit of a struggle.

"But it's golf and you have to keep a positive mentality and always think that you're going to play your best.

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