Brandon Matthews shows compassion to fan who yelled in tense playoff moment

Ben Jared/PGA TOUR

Brandon Matthews shows compassion to fan who yelled in tense playoff moment

Professional

Brandon Matthews shows compassion to fan who yelled in tense playoff moment

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Brandon Matthews once went on an 11-tournament top-10 streak – which encompassed a three-tournament winning streak – while playing college golf for Temple University. Since turning professional in 2016, Matthews has won just once, at the 2017 Molino Canuelas Championship, and hasn’t authored any streak quite that eye-catching.

After a near miss at this week’s Argentine Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, he may be better known in the short term for his compassion than his consistency.

On the brink of his second career win, and a corresponding spot in the 2020 British Open, Matthews, 25, entered a sudden death playoff with Ricardo Celia on Sunday after both reached 11 under for 72 holes.

Argentine Open: Leaderboard

The two men tied the first two holes, and as Matthews stood over an eight-footer for birdie to extend the playoff to a fourth hole, a yell rang out from the crowd. Matthews missed the putt, despite having felt his putter was dialed in all week.

“At that stage,” he told Golf Digest, “any minute noise resonates.”

The missed putt was perhaps season-altering. It handed Celia the title. Matthews was frustrated in the moment, but that was before the pieces came together.

As it turns out, the voice belonged to a middle-aged man with Down Syndrome, a detail Matthews only came to know because a tour official sought him out to offer an explanation in the locker room after the playoff ended, according to Golf Digest reporting.

Matthews immediately returned to the course to meet with the man, sign a glove and assure him that he was not upset.

“I wanted to make sure he didn’t feel badly about the situation,” Matthews told Golf Digest. “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].”

The gesture fits Matthews’ humble nature. The 25-year-old grew up in DuPont, Pennsylvania, learning the game from his dad Ted, a former baseball player.

Ted, the general manager of McCarthy Tire in a nearby town, always bonded with his son over golf. Brandon’s mom Donna worked for Goodwill Industries while Brandon was growing up, and he frequently went to group homes to visit with people who had Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy.

Matthews said it gave him perspective on life.

The runner-up in Argentina – his second top-5 finish on the Latinoamerica Tour in the past two weeks – still represents one of the high points of Matthews’ short professional career. It comes at a good time, considering that it has been a rough year. In 21 Korn Ferry Tour starts during the 2019 season, he made only four cuts.

Matthews is still finding his way in professional golf, but the important stuff? That seems to come naturally.

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