by Ronan MacNamara
Matthew Wolff by Golffile
World Mental Health Day has been and gone and while most of these random days that we all come across on social media are scoffed at and dismissed by old phonies blaming the weather on millennials, Mental Health Day is a poignant occasion to remember that it is okay not to be okay, so for that reason it was fitting that we saw Matthew Wolff take a giant step back to the form we all know he can produce.
Sure, he didn’t win on Sunday but his mental health issues have been well-documented over the last six months but his decision to take some time away from the golf course seems to be paying off as a refreshed and hungry Wolff (no pun intended) has returned to the PGA Tour with a vengeance.
A T-17th finish at the Sanderson Farms gave him the platform to go for the big W at the Shriner’s Children’s Open.
Teeing off on Sunday trailing Adam Schenk by the minimum, Wolff could do nothing to stop the Sungjae Im juggernaut, but he showed grit and determination and a never say die attitude that had been obviously missing from his game to the bewilderment of his fans until he spoke up about his mental health battles.
These issues really came to light when he gave an emotional post-round interview at the US Open.
The Masters tournament was arguably his lowest point when a distraught and disinterested Wolff signed for an incorrect score and was disqualified.
After taking more than two months away from the game he seems to be on the upward curve.
While Collin Morikawa and Victor Hovland have gone from strength to strength with the former winning two Major championships people forget that it was Wolff who first took the step into the spotlight as the superstar of the trio when he won the 3M Open. He was also in the mix at the 2020 PGA Championship when Morikawa pipped Paul Casey to win his maiden major.
What Wolff has gone through is completely normal and I am sure some people reading this for reasons I am not sure why have also gone through periods and battles where getting out of bed in the morning is a bridge too far and feeling completely useless, well that’s okay, that’s part of life.
The 22-year-old is back on the horse and a runner-up finish to start the season is just the start of what could be a – I am not going to say redemption – comeback season. I have seen many articles label Wolff’s return as a redemption, but why not a comeback? Is a mental health battle not as serious as an injury? It’s still an illness but you never hear of players returning from injury or illness, getting redemption.
Just because we cannot see any physical ailments doesn't make it any less significant.
Jordan Spieth’s ‘slump’ where he never dropped outside the top-100 in the world was hailed as a comeback season when he won the Valero Texas Open and we are constantly spun this line that Rickie Fowler will make a comeback this season, but it’s Wolff who is making the comeback and by God is he going to make it. He is great for the game, personally I love his swing, like Bryson, his action is one to take to the driving range and attempt to replicate for the fun of it.
In a sport that is continuously trying to divert away from the old man stereotype, Wolff’s bubbly and charismatic personality and his unique swing makes him very likeable and one of the poster boys for modern golf.
It’s great to see Wolff back and his story should be an example to everyone that it’s grand not to feel grand not just on Mental Health Day but on any day.