Father's Day: Parziale ties for low amateur with dad on bag
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Leaning on his club, Matt Parziale crossed one leg over the other and placed the free hand on his hip. His caddie mirrored his position and used Parziale's bag as his source of support. The two looked almost identical, just one older than the other.
Being related will do that.
Parziale's dad, Vic Parziale, has been with his son throughout his entire U.S. Open journey, starting Monday and ending on Father's Day. Matt finished 5 over par Sunday to tie for low amateur at 16 over for the tournament.
"We do stand alike out there," Vic said. "It's funny."
Said Matt: "I don't like it, but that's how life goes."
He's kidding. The idea of turning into his dad doesn't scare him.
"He's the best guy I know," Matt said. "If I can be half that good, I'll be doing all right."
It's a classic like father, like son relationship.
Matt, 31, is a full-time firefighter in Brockton, Massachusetts. Vic retired from the same station last year after 32 years.
The two also share a love for golf.
"He stinks now," Matt said. "I'd have to play pretty bad to let him win. He used to be much better than he is now."
Matt says he was 14 the first time he beat his dad. Vic says his son was 15. Either way, once Matt beat Vic's 73 by a stroke as a teenager, it was game over.
Vic never beat his son again.
"Golf skipped a generation for sure," Vic said. "Because I don't play like him."
As the first mid-amateur to make a cut at the U.S. Open in 15 years, Matt's second round was his best, carding a 73 with a birdie on No. 18 that guaranteed him a spot in the final rounds.
On the last day, Matt shot a 75 to end up at 296, the same mark fellow amateur Luis Gagne scored. Will Grimmer was the only other amateur to make the cut, and he finished 23 over at 303. The tournament started with 20 amateurs.
This was Matt's first U.S. Open. He played at the Masters earlier this year but did not make the cut. Vic was his caddie there, too.
"Mostly, I just carry the bag and keep my mouth shut," Vic said.
His specialty is wind: Matt does go to his dad for advice there. It helped this week.
"I don't get paid," Vic said. "I don't want to be, of course. I just love doing it."
The two have worked alongside each other for as long as either can remember. After college at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, Matt turned pro but called it quits after a couple years when it didn't pay off financially. That's when he became a firefighter.
But Matt never fully gave up golf, regaining his amateur status and going on to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship back in October. Vic caddied, of course.
"It's not something that happened over night," Vic said. "He just wasn't lucky getting here. He really worked hard on his game."
Being a firefighter actually allows him to practice and compete often. Matt works two 24-hour shifts a week.
He's not returning straight to his full-time job immediately, though. His upcoming golf schedule is packed. Starting Wednesday, Matt will compete in the Northeast Amateur tournament. Then he'll have the U.S. Amateur — after he gets married on Aug. 3 — and more.
Wherever and whatever, Vic will be standing nearby.
"He's always given me the opportunity to succeed," Matt said. "None of this is possible without his support and his help."