Matt Kuchar (above), the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, and Sergio Garcia, the British Amateur champ, brought rock star sizzle to last week's Loch Lomond World Invitational in Glasgow, Scotland. If their meeting fell short of Ali-Frazier I, it was at least a match for a Hanson concert. Kuchar, 20, has been courted by agents and equipment firms promising instant millions should he turn pro. Garcia, Spain's 18-year-old El Ni�o, a.k.a. Europe's Tiger Woods, a.k.a. the New Seve, is three up on Kuchar in nicknames but was streaky at best in two Nike tour outings last spring. Kuchar, Garcia and Justin Rose, England's top teen golfer, joined Tom Lehman for a practice round at Loch Lomond last Tuesday. The cocky Garcia piped up, "What are we playing for?" Lehman praised the kids after the round, but he voiced doubts that they have any chance in this week's British Open. "You're only as good as your misses, and most amateurs miss big," he said. Asked which kid is better, Lehman said, "From what I saw this week, Sergio has the best chance. He hits it strongest."
When will they turn pro? Kuchar dined with Ely Callaway recently at the Four Seasons in Atlanta. He bought his own food, as amateur rules require, but sounds tired of paying his own way. "My future has been weighing heavily on me," Kuchar said at Loch Lomond, where he missed the cut. "Tom [ Lehman] says I'm ready. Ernie Els, too. I'd like to earn some money to take care of expenses instead of costing my dad $2,000 every trip."
Garcia, who continued a pattern of rookie crumbles by following a 71-71 start with a 76-76 to finish 18 shots behind Loch Lomond winner Lee Westwood, said he'll turn pro "next year—after the Masters, I think." Jos� Marquina, his adviser and caddie, told SI that Garcia will seek a sponsor's exemption to make his PGA Tour debut in October at the Walt Disney World Classic.
As for Garcia's challenge before their practice round, Lehman, who went on to tie for ninth at Loch Lomond, reminded El Ni�o that they weren't playing the Ryder Cup. "But we will play for the Fruit Cup—a couple of oranges and a banana." The collision of current and future heavyweights ended without a knockout. "The match was tied," said Lehman. "No fruit changed hands."