By Michael Graybeal and Blythe Brumleve
Despite being a PGA TOUR champion, the name “Matt Every” isn’t immediately recognizable to the casual golf fan. But self-taught talent and the hard work he’s put in since he was a teenager has been enough to catapult the rising star into the winner’s circle on the PGA TOUR.
If you ask the average golf fan, “Who are some of the best players in the game?” you’ll likely get responses such as Tiger Woods , Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy. But the reality is, every player on the PGA TOUR is the best in golf today. The only difference between most players on the PGA TOUR and the stars that stand out is winning.
Once you win a TOUR event, it creates a domino effect of the golfer’s marketable brand. His face becomes more recognizable, TV time increases, sponsors begin to take notice and the floodgates of endorsements open. The humbling difference in winning a big tournament and finishing in the middle of the pack can be just a couple of strokes a week. One bad swing on Sunday can crush all hopes of becoming a winner on the PGA TOUR.
Often at times for these world-class golfers, the biggest win in their careers is the first one.
Northeast Florida is home to some of the world’s best golfers, and many don’t even know they exist. Case in point: Jacksonville resident Matt Every.
Every was exactly this, a world-class player who competed week in and week out but never crossed into the winner’s circle, until recently.
In March 2014, Every secured his first PGA TOUR title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill. He was able to hold off Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley down the stretch for what is arguably one of the biggest events on the PGA TOUR. The win was even more emotional because this was the first PGA TOUR event he witnessed as a kid, growing up just outside of Daytona Beach.
Every has been involved in golf since he was a teenager, with his resume as an amateur golfer being one of the best. Growing up, he played high school golf in Volusia County, until he eventually earned a spot as a member on the University of Florida men’s golf team. Once he landed in Gainesville, his amateur career exploded, earning first-team All-SEC player three times, becoming a four-time All-American, and the icing on the cake, earning the Ben Hogan Award in 2006 for being the best collegiate golfer in the United States.
After graduation, it was time for Every to make the transition to earning a living off his talent. Before he found success professionally, he competed on the Golf Channel’s reality series, The Big Break, played in a few events on the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR before eventually getting a full-time job on the Web.com Tour in 2008. After playing on the Web.com Tour for two years, Every would finally get his chance to play with the best in the world when he won the Web.com Tour Championship in 2009. This win put Every 10th overall on the official money list, therefore securing his first PGA TOUR card for the 2010 season.
During his four years on the TOUR, Every has shown the signs of what it takes to succeed, especially this year. He’s off to his best start in 2014, where he has had seven top 25s, five top -10 finishes, along with the win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. These stats are even better when you consider he has only played in 11 events this year. Along with the victory at Bay Hill ,Every earned an invitation to play at golf’s holy land, Augusta National Golf Club, at The Masters.
Not only is Every a busy man on the course, he certainly is busy off the course with his wife Danielle and their 2-year-old son, Liam. After residing in Jacksonville Beach for a number of years, the Everys recently upgraded by having a new home built so they could have more space for their growing family.
Being a family man who’s also a PGA TOUR golfer can be rather challenging at times. Week in and week out, life on the road can be strenuous without your family by your side. Therefore, Every tries to include Danielle and Liam at as many events throughout the year as he can.
One of the highlights of his win at Bay Hill was having his family there to witness the victory. “ It was a great feeling after the win, we got a bunch of good photos with Liam and the trophy,” Every said about the celebration.
One would think your first PGA TOUR victory would involve a heavy celebration with friends late into the evening. The truth of the matter is Every was pretty mellow after recording his first win. “ I drove back to Jacksonville that night with my family and was in bed by 10:30,” Every said.
The Bay Hill victory also brought Every back into the media spotlight. Unfortunately, this spotlight hasn’t always been kind to Every over the last couple of years. Instead of focusing on his improved game and growing family, he’s been labeled brash, cocky and quick spoken.
But Every isn’t your stereotypical pro golfer.
If you are looking to follow a golfer that shows no emotion and gives textbook interview answers, your best bet is to move on. Every is a player that wears his emotions on his sleeve and will tell you exactly what is on his mind.
For many golf fans today, Every’s personality comes off as refreshing, with “confident” as the better word to describe him as opposed to cocky. Because without the confidence level above and beyond the average Joe, you won’t win much on the PGA TOUR.
There are several other points to highlight that place Every on the outside of the stereotypical golfer. A large number of golfers today utilize a team of coaches to assist in their training. This team is typically made up of swing coaches and sports physiologists.
If you are looking to follow a golfer who shows no emotion and gives textbook interview answers, your best bet is to move on. Every is a player who wears his emotions on his sleeve and will tell you exactly what is on his mind.
Every is more of an old-school golfer and does best by teaching himself. In fact, he tried using a swing coach recently, but he saw parts of his game begin to suffer, so he reverted back to teaching himself. Some players will practice all morning, study video of their swing, talk to their psychologist and repeat. Every is the type of player who will hit range balls in the morning, eat a club sandwich and beat you in ping pong for lunch, followed by winning friendly wagers on the course in the afternoon.
Every is exactly what fans want: a young and talented player who expresses exactly what’s on his mind. Every’s attitude and talent level is exactly what the sport needs to thrive among the demographic the PGA TOUR wants, the millennials. Maybe its because there’s a vast array of fans who share in his same characteristics and find him refreshing for the future of the sport.