The Masters

Masters 2022: How Matthew Wolff's fellow competitor kept Wolff's spirits up during a brutal day

April 08, 2022

Gregory Shamus

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The struggle continues for Matthew Wolff. The former prodigy took a sabbatical last year from the game after some confusing displays and sights, which Wolff later attributed to a mental health break. In his return there was a promising showing at the U.S. Open and a strong fall run. Unfortunately in 2022 his on-course performance has gone south again, missing the cut in four of six starts, his best finish a T-61 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That slump carried into Day 1 of the Masters as he failed to break 80.

And it wasn’t just the score: Wolff was visibly frustrated throughout his day, a sentiment encapsulated by snapping his iron.

Wolff did not talk to the media following his round, but playing partner Mac Hughes did. Hughes did his best to convey the troubles Wolff is going through.

“Matt had a hard day. I know he's in the past been open about struggling with just being happy,” Hughes said. “And I just told him that he's a tremendous competitor and that we all want to do great but his golf score does not define who he is as a person.

“I've been young, and I've been there where you're really hard on yourself and you expect greatness every day. Then you're out here for a long time, and you realize that you're going to have lots of days that you don't like. It's just the nature of sports.”

Hughes, who turned in a 73 Thursday, said he spent some of his round trying to keep Wolff’s spirits up. Though that might sound odd—they are competitors, after all—Hughes explained why he offered a helping hand.

“We just tried to maybe give him a couple words of encouragement because it's—well—we've all been there before,” Hughes said.

Wolff, Hughes and Luke List begin their second round at 12:35 p.m. on Friday.