Matt Parziale was invited to play golf with Tom Brady, but he turned it down

Mandatory Credit: Photo by TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9715145ao) Matt Parziale 118th US Open Championship, Southampton, USA - 13 Jun 2018 Matt Parziale of the US signs an autograph on the eighteenth hole during the final practice round at the 118th US Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, USA, 13 June 2018. The tournament will be played 14 June thorough 17 June.
Tannen Maury/EPA
Brockton’s Matt Parziale signs an autograph after completing his practice round Wednesday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Matt Parziale got over the disappointment of a missed cut at the Masters. He is unfazed by the difficult conditions at Shinnecock Hills, site of the US Open that begins Thursday. An amateur golfer riding the wave of his US Mid-Amateur title all the way to the fields of two of golf’s four majors, he’s enjoying every perk he can.


He turned down Tom Brady. And it nearly broke him.


While Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson made headlines after accepting an invitation from investment banker Jimmy Dunne to play Long Island’s Friar’s Head course Tuesday alongside the five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Parziale, a lifelong Patriots fan and Brockton native, was supposed to be in on the party. But he had committed to taking part in the inaugural USGA celebration of champions event held Tuesday afternoon at Shinnecock and wouldn’t go back on his word.

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“So I had to decline,” said Parziale, a Brockton firefighter, after playing nine holes of practice Wednesday. “It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my entire life.”

Fear not, however. The dream is still alive. Thanks to a longtime friendship with Dunne, a round of golf with Brady still could be in the offing.

“Jimmy said he’s going to hook me up and we’ll play when I get back home,” Parziale said. “Tom’s a member at Old Sandwich and I’m a member over there so maybe we’ll get Jimmy and one of Jimmy’s friends up there to do it.”

Parziale is a tried-and-true New England sports fan, from the beloved Bruins of his hockey-playing youth to the dominant Patriots of his young adult life, when Brady emerged as one of the game’s greatest players. When Parziale joined Dunne at an event over the weekend, Dunne shocked him with his opening line.


“He came up and he goes, ‘Hey, you want to play golf with Tom on Tuesday? And I said, ‘Yep,’ ” Parziale said. “And then he told me the time and I was like, ‘I can’t do it. I got to be at the champions thing.’ And it was a great night here, a blast, it was awesome. But it was hard.

“That’s life.”

Life is still good. Parziale, 31, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on June 23, when the Red Sox host the Mariners.

“I’ll probably screw it up,” he said with a laugh. Told Alex Ovechkin celebrated his similar Stanley Cup invitation by overthrowing the catcher at Nationals Park, and being granted a mulligan, Parziale said, “I’ll probably throw it straight into the ground now that you told me that. I did play baseball but I was terrible. I started playing golf because I sucked at baseball. I haven’t really thought about it till now. I’m going to screw it up. But no, it’s great. It’s awesome.”

Parziale is scheduled to tee off with Trey Mullinax and Jason Scrivener on Thursday at 6:56 a.m.

No. 1 up for grabs


Justin Rose is one of six players with a chance to leave Shinnecock Hills on Sunday night as the world’s No. 1 golfer.

And the 2013 US Open champion knows just how he wants to do it.

‘‘Becoming world No. 1 is going to be a byproduct of winning this week,’’ he said. ‘‘So I may as well just continue to focus on the winning. That’s where the points are. That’s where the fun is, to be honest with you.’’

Dustin Johnson entered the week as the top-ranked golfer in the world. The others with a chance to move up to the top spot are Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy.

Rose played in the US Open the last time it was at Shinnecock, in 2004, but missed the cut.

That’s probably why he didn’t have such fond memories of the course until he came back about five years ago and played with a couple of members.

‘‘It completely changed my impression of the whole golf course,’’ he said. ‘‘It went from being not a very fun experience to actually, wow, now I see why it’s one of the top-rated golf courses in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’’

Peak conditions

The USGA prefers the US Open to be played in firm, dry, and fast conditions. It was raining Wednesday, so USGA chief executive Mike Davis was all smiles.

Davis said the forecast for the four days of competition calls for plenty of sunshine and enough breeze to make Shinnecock Hills play the way it should. He says the light rain on Wednesday is keeping the course from getting too fast before Thursday’s opening round, and it will allow the USGA to have more control over how firm the ground gets.

Davis also said he has changed some of the pin positions because of the wind expected for the opening round.

In 2004, the course became so bone dry that golf balls wouldn’t stay on the seventh green and only three players broke par on the weekend.

This group has bite

The USGA has a history of clever groupings for the US Open, and this year was no exception.

Andrew ‘‘Beef’’ Johnston is playing with Daniel Berger. The other member of their trio is Kevin Chappell, who is sponsored by Ruth’s Chris.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.