Golfer forgives fan with Down syndrome after sudden outburst cost him tournament title
Brandon Matthews, a professional golfer, was eight feet from forcing an extra hole at a tournament in Argentina this weekend. If he made the putt he would have still been in the running to win the tournament and with a win, a spot in the 2020 British Open.
But all did not go as planned.
“I got over the putt, took the putter back and heard kind of a yelp or a scream,” Matthews told GolfChannel.com.
“I kind of flinched on the putt and immediately knew I missed it.”
At a crucial point, when everyone was silent, a fan yelled out. Matthews missed and lost out on the chance of the Visa Open de Argentina title and an invitation to the British Open.
After the miss, Matthews was understandably upset. He gestured to the gallery before heading to the locker room.
“I thought someone had done it intentionally. I was frustrated. Really, I was in shock that that just happened,” he said.
Once in the locker room, Claudio Rivas, PGA Tour Latinoamérica’s tournament administration manager, approached Matthews to offer an apology and explanation.
The outburst came from an excited fan with Down syndrome.
Rivas informed Matthews the sudden outburst came from a fan with Down syndrome who got caught up in the moment and let out an excited yelp. When the professional golfer heard that, he asked to be taken to him.
“His switch – his face changed. He almost broke into tears,” Rivas said.
Matthews, who said he had been around those with a disability his entire life, felt bad that he was ever angry at the fan. He wanted to meet the person and assure them that everything was okay.
“I didn’t want to anyone to be mad at him,” Matthews said. “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.”
Juan, the fan, was very happy to meet Matthews. The two chatted, exchanged hugs, and the golfer even signed a glove for Juan.
While the outburst might have cost Matthews the tournament title and an invitation to the British Open, the professional golfer doesn’t mind.
“Some things are bigger than golf, and this was one of them.”
What an awesome moment! Rather than get angry at Juan for breaking his concentration, Matthews chose to approach Juan and make sure he enjoyed the game. A class act.
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