After missing an eight-foot birdie putt that lost him the third playoff hole at Open de Argentina over the weekend, PGA Tour golfer Brandon Matthews was understandably upset. Not just because the miss cost him a chance at his second win on the Latinoamerica tour and a guaranteed spot in The Open Championship, but also because the miss came as a fan yelled during his backswing on the pivotal shot.
Immediately after the miss, Matthews was furious with the violation of spectator etiquette, turning around and yelling “come on guys, seriously?!” at the crowd gathered around the green.
“I’d been putting really well all week, and I had no doubt that I was going to make the putt,” Matthews said, via Golf Digest. “At that stage, any minute noise resonates.”
Matthews’ frustrations were completely understandable, especially in such a pivotal high-pressure moment. But upon arriving at the clubhouse, the 25-year-old golfer was told by a course official that the fan who yelled during his backswing was a middle-aged man with Down Syndrome.
Shortly thereafter, Matthews headed back out to the course and made his way over to meet the fan. After a few minutes, Matthews gave the fan a hug and an autographed glove and ball.
It was a pretty touching and compassionate gesture from Matthews, who spoke about the meeting afterward.
“He said something and got excited, there’s nothing you can do about that,” said Matthews. “The guy was out there, he was enjoying it…I’m sure he felt terrible, that’s why I went and gave him a glove and a ball afterwards and gave him a hug. It’s just one of those things that happens. Unfortunately, it was out of my control.”
It was undoubtedly a disappointing, frustrating and costly finish to the tournament for Matthews, one that’s hard to swallow given the circumstances of the final hole. But people often say that a person’s true character emerges when things don’t go their way and, if that’s the case, Matthews still comes away as a winner here.