Thursday, July 10, 2014

Matthews: No words for sharing his spotlight with his father

August 16. 2013 12:32AM

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BROOKLINE, Mass. — There aren’t many things better than sharing some of your biggest personal moments with a person who makes it that much more special.

For Brandon Matthews, he’s doing just that this week in his first U.S. Amateur Championship. As Matthews wins holes and moves closer to a championship that has been won by legends such as Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and others, the person right there with him on every green and at every tee is his caddie — his father, Ted.

“My dad is the best,” Brandon Matthews said. “For him to be here doing this … I can’t explain just how great that feels. I can’t express it in words.”

The two work together in a way that doesn’t have that parental feel. They are communicative on every shot and show a real give-and-take. Not every caddie/golfer relationship is that way.

“He taught me the game,” Brandon Matthews said. “And he’s my best friend, too. We talk all the time (now more via phone since Brandon is at Temple) and he’s always there for me.”

Ted had a great view of his son beating Gavin Green 4-and-3, then Charlies Danielson 3-and-2 on Thursday at the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship to reach quarterfinals.

THE CALM APPROACH: Matthews showed none of the jitters you could expect from a 19-year-old in this tournament for the first time.

It seemed like for every good shot he hit, there was someone to greet or shake hands with. And not for a congratulatory moment after a big shot for Matthews. Instead, he made sure to take a moment to thank seemingly every marshal, steward and standard bearer for their efforts at the event.

“That’s just what you do,” Matthews said. “These people work so hard, putting in so many hours. No matter how tired you are or how tense, you have to show them respect. They do a lot of preparation work before we’re even here. It’s not just one day or one week.”

When Matthews wasn’t shaking someone’s hand who was working the event, he was greeting friends between the third and fourth holes, saying hello to a family and their children at the ninth tee, or sharing a moment with his girlfriend between the ninth and 10th holes.

In all, there was a sizable entourage supporting Matthews, helping those who didn’t know where Temple is to find out before they left the course.

PUTTING THE U.S. IN THE AMATEUR: Only three of the eight remaining golfers at the Amateur are Americans, with each of them facing an international foe in the quarterfinals.

Matthews is joined by Adam Ball of Virginia and Scottie Scheffler of Texas as the last U.S. hopes.

“There’s just eight of us left,” Matthews said. “It doesn’t matter where they’re from or how old they are. I’m just going out there to play. It doesn’t matter to me if they are European or Korean or any ethnicity.

“It’s tough just to get here. It’s tough to get to match play. In match play, you have to beat six guys, no matter where they are from.”

Americans have won each of the last three Amateurs, but five of the seven before those (2003-09) went to international champions.

DANGEROUS DRIVER: Matthews continues to put on a driving exhibition at The Country Club, which despite its par-70 designation, is playing 7,310 yards.

Besides his mamoth drives on the 623-yard par-5 12th, Matthews was winning over the gallery with his tee shots throughout the day.

During his match with Danielson, his drive on the third hole elicited a “Wow!”

Hole No.4 got him a “Whoa!” and Danielson’s caddy said Matthews was “the first kid I’ve seen outhit Charlie.”

Matthews drew a “Ho-ly Michael!” with one of his later drives, as well as a handful of other words we just can’t share in print.

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