Brandon Matthews' initial frustration quickly turned to compassion.
Matthews was attempting an 8-foot birdie putt to extend a playoff in the Argentina Open when a fan yelled out in the middle of his stroke. Matthews flinched and missed the putt. He lost the playoff, which came with a spot in The Open.
"I thought someone had done it intentionally," Matthews told Golf Channel's website.
That's when Claudio Rivas, the tournament administrator for the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, stepped in. He told Matthews that the fan had Down syndrome and had lost control of his emotions. Matthews wanted to meet the man, and the two shared an emotional moment that was captured in several photos posted on Twitter by PGA Tour Latinoamerica.
Brandon Matthews 🇺🇸 falló un putt que le habría dado la posibilidad de seguir luchando por el 🏆del #VisaOpenbyMacro . ¿La razón de su fallo? Un señor con Síndrome de Down hizo un sonido involuntario en el momento menos oportuno.— PGATOURLA (@PGATOURLA) November 18, 2019
Matthews se acercó e hizo esto#Golf #caballero pic.twitter.com/bcsYErb79u
Matthews' mother managed group homes, and his best friend had a sister with Down syndrome. Rivas said Matthews' face changed when he learned about the fan and "he almost broke into tears."
"I gave him a hug and I asked him: 'Hey, are you doing OK? Are you having fun?' I just wanted to make sure he was enjoying himself, that he had no hard feelings, that he didn't feel bad about what happened," Matthews said. "I didn't want to anyone to be mad at him. 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.
"Some things are bigger than golf," he said. "And this was one of them."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.