Rory McIlroy won the Irish Open today hitting some imperious fairway woods down the stretch in front of his own fans.
It was pretty awesome but let’s be honest, Rory is incredible and he’ll win more Irish Opens.
But the real story was elsewhere. Rory will take all the headlines but look a little closer and there is a tale much more amazing and inspirational.
Matt Southgate (Headline picture) came 4th alone, going -5 through the final 10 holes in tough conditions at the K Club to win € 200,000.
Rewind back just 10 months to last July and the Essex lad had no status on tour, was skint and was shuttling his 2-year old niece, who had leukemia, back and forth to Great Ormond Street hospital whilst struggling about on the Challenge Tour.
Then he returned home from an event in Germany that month to find some test results saying he had testicular cancer.
A week later it’s off with the balls and he isn’t able to play golf until September, before heading to the first stage of Q-School with the hackers and club pros in October and perhaps some new perspective.
He somehow manages to battle through all three gruelling stages of Q-School claiming the sixth card on offer ensuring him a few starts on the main European Tour.
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Well fast forward to this week and he is first reserve and only finds out he is actually playing on the Wednesday of the Irish Open, giving him a lot less preparation time than many at the K Club, but defies the odds to come 4th… and earn his full playing rights back!
An amazing story for someone who is by all accounts a top lad too. He refuses to sit in the players lounge in favour of the caddie’s equivalent because ‘that’s where the banter and real people is’.
So on this Sunday evening whilst the European Tour circus moves on as it always does, raise a glass to Matthew Southgate, a real lad, who has been on an incredible life story and shown some real balls!
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.