Pro golfer Brandon Matthews was preparing to advance to one of golf’s biggest tournaments—all he had to do was sink a simple putt.
The 25-year-old golfer had been in a sudden-death playoff match in Argentina on the PGA Tour in Mexico last month when he found himself facing an 8-foot putt. If he landed the shot, he would keep his guaranteed slot in The Open golf tournament.
Just as he was preparing to make the shot, however, a spectator’s shout from the gallery disrupted his concentration so that he flinched and missed the putt, thus losing the match and his spot in The Open.
Matthews thought that someone had distracted him on purpose—but then the tournament administrator approached him in the locker room and told him who had screamed.
A middle-aged man with Down syndrome had gotten so excited over the match, he had not been able to keep himself from letting out a scream during Matthews’s shot.
Immediately after hearing the details about the situation, Matthews asked to meet the fan.
Brandon Matthews 🇺🇸 falló un putt que le habría dado la posibilidad de seguir luchando por el 🏆del #VisaOpenbyMacro . ¿La razón de su fallo? Un señor con Síndrome de Down hizo un sonido involuntario en el momento menos oportuno.— PGATOURLA (@PGATOURLA) November 18, 2019
Matthews se acercó e hizo esto#Golf #caballero pic.twitter.com/bcsYErb79u
“I was around mental disability growing up, and I have a soft spot in my heart for it. Those are really special people,” Matthews told The Golf Channel. “I felt so terrible that I was even upset. I just wanted to make sure that he didn’t feel bad.”
After they were introduced, Matthews offered the man a signed glove, made sure he was having a good time, and gave him a hug.
“I just wanted to make sure he was enjoying himself, that he had no hard feelings, that he didn’t feel bad about what happened,” Matthews added. “I didn’t want to anyone to be mad at him. I didn’t want him to be mad at himself. I wanted to make sure he knew that I wasn’t mad. That’s all I wanted to do.”
Tournament administrators said that the fan was “very happy” over the exchange—and Matthews said that he was simply happy to turn his disappointment into acceptance and compassion.
“Some things are bigger than golf,” he told reporters, “and this was one of them.”
"Some things in life are just bigger than golf."@B_Matthews12 missed a putt in a playoff of a @PGATOURLA event when a fan yelled in his backswing. It cost him the win and a spot in The Open.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 18, 2019
When he learned that the fan had Down syndrome, he immediately asked to meet him. pic.twitter.com/kBbVNqNwsh
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