PGA Tour Latinoamerica pro Brandon Matthews embraced a golf fan who yelled out in his backstroke while missing a crucial eight-foot putt to extend his playoff against Ricardo Celia at the Argentine Open.
The winner of the tournament was not only crowned Argentine Open for 2019, but also received a place in the field at the 2020 Open Championship at Royal St George's.
As Matthews, 25, took his stroke on his must-make putt to force the playoff into a fourth extra hole, a golf fan yelled out in his backstroke and he missed the putt.
"I’d been putting really well all week, and I had no doubt that I was going to make the putt," said Matthews.
"At that stage, any minute noise resonates. I gave it a little too much right hand, missed it and turned around and said, ‘Come on guys, seriously?!’ I was obviously frustrated about it."
What Matthews did not initially realise was that the fan who made the disturbance in his backstroke was a middle-aged man with Down Syndrome.
A PGA Tour official alerted Matthews in the locker room, and Matthews instantly walked back out to the course to embrace the man with a hug and a signed golf ball and glove.
Brandon Matthews falló un putt que le habría dado la posibilidad de seguir luchando un intenso play-off con @PipoCelia por el del #VisaOpenbyMacro . ¿La razón de su fallo? Un señor con Síndrome de Down hizo un sonido involuntario en el momento menos oportuno. En un acto de caballero, Matthews se acercó, le pidió disculpas por su inmediata reacción, le firmó un guante y le regaló una pelota. On the third playoff hole of the VISA Open de Argentina on Sunday, a mentally disabled fan moved and talked right as @brandonmatthewsgolf was about to make his stroke on an eight-foot birdie putt that would have extended the playoff. Matthews missed the putt and lost the playoff to Ricardo Celia . In a #classact Matthews went over and signed a glove and a ball for this fan. • @martinbachiller. #Volvo #Hilton #GoVacaciones
"I wanted to make sure he didn’t feel badly about the situation," said Matthews, whose mother once managed homes for Goodwill.
"I grew up around people with special needs because of what my mom did when I was kid and have a soft spot in my heart [for people with special needs]."
When asked about losing out on a spot at the 2020 Open, Matthews replied: "It’s going to sting, and there are times where I’m going to think about it. But at the end of the day, I’m 25 years old and have a long career ahead of me."
One Big Thing— Stanford Steve (@StanfordSteve82) November 19, 2019
A golf story you have to hear about pic.twitter.com/YNAvXXW9eK