Matt Parziale is drawing big galleries during practice.
Matt Parziale is drawing big galleries during practice.

Firefighter to turn up heat on Masters field

FIREFIGHTER Matt Parziale had a pretty good reason when he asked his father, Captain Vic Parziale of the Brockton Fire Department in the US, to take a leave of absence recently.

Working in the same station as his dad, and caddy, in Massachusetts, Parziale had to get ready for the Masters.

In one of those "can you believe this" stories, Parziale, 30, secured his spot in the 87-man field at Augusta national by winning the US Mid Amateur championship last October.

There's more than a few risks associated with his day job, too, so Parziale, who also gets to play in the US Open later this year, put work on hold for a while to live out every golfer's fantasy.

"Usually every house fire we go into, you leave a little banged up. If you leave too banged up, then you could be out for a year," he said.

"So I've already missed five months from work because of a knee injury,so you never know what's going to happen."

Matt Parziale shows his style during practice.
Matt Parziale shows his style during practice.

Including things like Tiger Woods "reaching out" for a practice round on Wednesday.

"But he's in high demand, so we'll see if that happens. And I understand if that doesn't happen," Parziale said.

"But he did reach out. He sent me a letter after I had won. And that was incredible to receive, just because I grew up watching him."

Parziale did that growing up in Brockton, which he said was a "tough city", a far cry from the opulence on offer at Augusta National.

He was good enough to turn pro, but didn't carve out the career he had hoped, so took back his amateur status, and took up work with his dad.

Matt Parziale shares a laugh with Rory McIlroy on Masters eve.
Matt Parziale shares a laugh with Rory McIlroy on Masters eve.

But his appearance at the Masters this week is not quite a rags to riches tale, because whatever happens this week, Parziale will be back fighting fires again sooner rather than later.

"Someone asked me is this a second chance. I said no, I never stopped enjoying the chance to compete, and so I never looked at it that way," he said.

"I enjoy where I am. I'm very fortunate enough to be able to do two things that I love doing; playing competitive golf and then have a career that I really do enjoy."


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