Despite being ranked 31st in the world, England's Matt Wallace is still a relatively unknown player in the golf world, an unfortunate reality for a pro who spends the bulk of his time on the European Tour. This past Sunday at the British Masters, a tournament Wallace nearly won, the 29-year-old gained plenty of notoriety on social media, but for all the wrong reasons.
On the 72nd green at Hillside Golf Links, Wallace had a great look at birdie that would have forced a playoff with Sweden's Marcus Kinhult, the eventual winner. Wallace missed the putt on the low side, which he knew well before the ball reached the hole, instantly raising his putter in the air and slamming the bottom of it down on the green. He wasn't finished there either, patting the spot that clearly wrong him six more times. As he walked up to tap in the par, he continued to show how disappointed he was with his effort. A Twitter user captured the entire scene, which you can watch below:
Much like fellow Englishmen Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton, Wallace is the type to display his emotions in both good and bad times. Of course, the bad times will always draw more eyeballs, something Hatton has found out more and more while in contention on American soil.
Wallace realized this, and after taking a few days to think it over, he called himself out for his behavior in a column published in the Evening Standard, a London-based newspaper. The post, which was published early this morning, begins with Wallace praising Tiger Woods' Masters victory, with Wallace stating that the 15-time major champion is "the reason I play golf." Wallace missed the cut at Augusta, causing him to go straight to work to prepare for the British Masters and the PGA Championship this week at Bethpage Black.
His work nearly paid off at Hillside, almost resulting in a fifth European Tour victory. As disappointing as it was to come that close and lose by one shot, Wallace knows that was still no excuse to react the way he did on the final green.
"The way I reacted in banging my putter on the green on 18 was not right and, for that, I can only apologize," Wallace wrote in the column. "I’m really disappointed in the way I behaved. For 71 holes, I’d done really well, then let myself down badly with one petulant act.
"The best players in the world don’t do that so why should I? That’s not who I am and, in that moment, it was just pure passion to win. I’m not, though, disappointed with the way I played. I hit 82-percent greens in regulation, my best ever, so it feels like a step in the right direction compared to a few weeks ago."
Golf is a game that not only requires a lot of self belief, but self introspection, two things Wallace displays in the full column, which can be read here. Wallace's fire is something the sport needs more of, so long as it doesn't result in any damaging of the course.
The Englishman will tee it up at Bethpage Black on Thursday at 8:35 a.m., going off the first tee alongside club pro Brian Mackey and six-time European Tour winner Joost Luiten. In 11 worldwide starts in 2019, Wallace has collected five top 20s, including second-place finishes at the British Masters and Omega Dubai Desert Classic, as well as a T-6 at the Arnold Palmer Invitation at Bay Hill in March.