During this year’s Memorial Tournament, reigning champion Bryson DeChambeau got a chance to meet with one of his biggest fans — an 18-year-old golfer, who re-learned to play the game after becoming paralyzed on one side of his body.
Matthew McClish — who hails from Galloway, Ohio — was in the second grade when he had his first seizure. At age 11, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, and after performing an MRI on the boy, doctors determined that a brain tumor was responsible for the seizures. Over the next year, McClish underwent numerous brain surgeries.
Through it all, McClish remained dedicated to golf and in his sophomore year of high school, made it to the district-wide championship, and the following year, made first-team all-country.
During his junior year, McClish suffered a major health setback. While undergoing what would turn out to be his final brain surgery, the teen had a stroke, and when he woke up, doctors informed him that he was paralyzed on his left side and also had impaired vision.
Not to be deterred, the teen spent an average of 10 hours a day, 6 days a week doing rehabilitation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and was able to re-learn how to play the game, using just his right hand. More impressively, in a few months, he was able to return to his school’s golf team for his senior year.
While at the tournament, which is held at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, McClish was surprised on Wednesday with a chance to meet DeChambeau, his favorite golfer, and even received a one-on-one lesson with the pro.
Presenting McClish — who is the 2019 recipient of the Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award — with a new set of clubs, the pair went to the driving range at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Clinic for their private lesson.
After a few critiques, McClish’s swing was much-improved, prompting DeChambeau, 25, to praise it as being “perfect.”
“This was a great surprise, oh my god,” the teen shared. “I love you bro.”
“Keep it up. You’re doing great,” DeChambeau replied. “You’re an inspiration.”
During his time at the tournament, McClish went on to meet Tiger Woods, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning —who played in the tournament’s pro-am with Woods — tournament founder Jack Nicklaus, as well as golfers Justin Thomas and Rory Mcilroy.
As of Friday, American Ryan Moore is currently in first place at the Memorial Tournament, which will crown a winner on Sunday.