This week’s Queensland PGA Championship isn’t the biggest tournament Matthew Guyatt has played but it might just be the most significant.
Signing for a second consecutive five-over 77 on Friday wasn’t how Guyatt wanted this week to go – missing cuts is not how any pro wants any week to go – but this tournament start is not measured solely by what’s written on the scorecard.
It was July 4, 2020 when Guyatt suffered two deep and severe cuts across the top of his head whilst playing basketball in the street with his son.
His wife Rachel cradled his bloody scalp as they waited for medical assistance to arrive and the doctors who operated revealed that if the laceration had occurred one centimetre either side that the result would have been catastrophic, potentially fatal.
So when Guyatt sits inside the clubhouse at Nudgee Golf Club – the club where he was due to start as the club’s Assistant Professional the week after the accident – it’s little wonder the tears sit so close to the surface.
“It’s still raw to me now,” Guyatt says as he casts his mind back.
“In that moment I never thought I’d be back playing a golf tournament again and competing.
“I couldn’t even hold a golf club in my right hand because it was so painful for my right elbow.
“To be able to go full circle and be here 18 months later playing a tournament at my home venue is such a blessing.
“Every day I get to walk and talk and live life with my family is an absolute blessing.”
Since my small part on @InsideThe_Ropes podcast last week the messages from strangers have been awesome. People touched by the story in so many different ways….the miracle I survived, my kids being amazing in crisis, encouraging dads to be dads etc…thank you all #stitchesout pic.twitter.com/MyyGNeC7uL
— Matthew Guyatt (@MattyGuyatt) July 13, 2020
In a playing career that spanned close to a decade and was highlighted by top-10 finishes at the 2017 Australian Open and Australian Masters (twice), Guyatt went toe-to-toe with many of the game’s best players.
Struggles with the putter ultimately made life on tour all but unbearable but that pales in comparison to what he has endured the past 18 months.
Playing golf at all seemed unlikely; playing well a pipe dream.
Yet he won the South-East Queensland PGA Professionals Championship in June last year to book a place in the Queensland PGA Championship and two weeks ago qualified for the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland, only to have to withdraw on the Monday of tournament week when he tested positive for COVID-19.
Which is why this week, at the club that has welcomed him as their Assistant Professional with open arms, has meant so much.
— Paul Rigby (@paulrigby7) January 20, 2022
“I was out on the course with our GM Darren Richards when he told me that they’d taken on hosting the tournament,” Guyatt says.
“I felt like this week was the most pressure I’ve ever had in a golf tournament, because of it being at my home club.
“It’s not that the members expected me to do well, they wanted me to, and that’s a big difference.
“I’ve never felt like I really wanted to play well more than this week.
“A few weeks ago I was starting to feel anxious and really wanting to play well for the members, not wanting to disgrace myself in front of the members.
“It’s not an Australian Open or any of those big tournaments but I wanted to play well this week for them. I felt like I was carrying more people than just myself.
“The members were so excited to have me playing and that was a cool thing. That was a really cool thing.
“It’s a great journey for the golf club and as much as I would have loved to have played better, to make the cut and be out here for the members on the weekend, it’s just awesome to be out there playing.”