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How A ‘Heckler’ And A Pro Golfer Became Friends

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Brandon Matthews is a 25-year-old professional golfer. One of his most memorable tournaments came at the Argentine Open in Buenos, Aires. It had been a nail-biter of a match for Matthews, and a fan screamed just as he was about to make a crucial shot. Matthews did not make the shot, but he did make a friend. After learning why the fan screamed, Matthews and the mysterious person were able to share a memorable moment.

A Must-Win Situation

Golfers qualify for each tournament they compete in by placing well in smaller competitions. That’s why Brandon Matthews was especially nervous going into the Argentine Open. Since he already had some disappointing tournaments, he had to place well in the Argentine Open to qualify for the British Open, a bigger event with a higher monetary prize pool.

Although he gave his all, he still was not a front runner by the end of the tournament. Towards the end of the competition, it was clear that all of his hard work was going to come down to one very important moment. He was down to one of his last putts. If Matthews made the shot, he would qualify for the British Open. If he didn’t make the shot, that would be his last competition of the year. Matthews got into position, and he took a deep breath. The crowd watched silently. Just before Matthews took that fateful putt, someone in the audience let out a startling scream. Would he make it? Would he miss it?

Crushing Defeat

Unfortunately, that unexpected scream was enough to knock Matthews off of his game. While screaming is common in other sports, golf crowds are traditionally extremely quiet because the golfers need a calm environment for maximum concentration. At first, Matthews was devastated. He displayed his frustration by making an aggressive gesture and giving a mean look toward the general direction of the crowd.

That was the end of the road for Matthews’ hopeful run to the British Open. He would have to wait until next year to attempt to qualify again. Why had someone screamed in the middle of a golf tournament? Was the person an overzealous fan of his opponent? Was it a heckler who just wanted to cause trouble? In the locker room, he was left alone with his frustrated thoughts until Claudio Rivas, the director of the Argentine Open paid him a visit. Rivas had found the “heckler,” and it turned out to be a fan with Down Syndrome who simply had an uncontrollable outburst at an incredibly inconvenient time.

Making Amends

Immediately, Matthews’ attitude towards the fan softened. As a child, he was close friends with a boy whose sister had Down Syndrome. His mother also worked at a group home for people with disabilities for several years, so Brandon Matthews had plenty of experience with people who live with Down Syndrome. Instead of being angry at the fan, he was more concerned with making sure the fan did not feel guilty.

Rivas arranged for Matthews and the fan, named Juan, to meet each other. Juan was ecstatic to be able to meet one of his favorite golfers, and Matthews says that the special moment was more important than winning any golf tournament. Neither Juan nor Matthews had any ill will towards one another. In fact, Matthews gave Juan a golf ball and a glove as souvenirs.

Since loud noise is so uncommon during golf, Juan’s scream went viral in a matter of minutes. Matthews quickly smoothed things over by posting a picture of his newfound friend on Instagram.

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