It's been an up-and-down year for Matthew Wolff and the direction the 22-year-old moved on the Sanderson Farms' Moving Day was ... up.
Wolff was behind the cut line late in his round on Friday, but he nailed a 36-footer on No. 18 to extend his stay in Jackson, Mississippi another two days. He took advantage of the opportunity with newfound confidence, now sitting six shots off the lead after a third-round 65.
"Making that last putt on 18 (Friday), I felt like I hit a lot of good putts yesterday and they just weren't really going in," Wolff said. "I just told myself, I was like, you know what, if there was a time to make a putt it would be now. It's a funny game – it's not funny, it's kind of brutal, golf – but, yeah, I think just making the cut line and gave me a little bit of confidence."
The past year has been a bit brutal for the Californian. Wolff turned pro as one of the most promising young stars in the game. He won the 2019 3M Open and it looked as if he was finding his groove in 2020 with a T-4 finish at the PGA Championship and then consecutive runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
However, things went south. He was disqualified from the Masters Tournament in April after signing an incorrect scorecard – though he was 12 over par – and then withdrew from the PGA Championship. He took two months off for his mental health, returning for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which was his best finish (T-15) in the six events he's played in after his return.
Ahead of The Northern Trust in August, Wolff said, "It's still a grind, but I'm doing a lot better." Six weeks later, he's continued that grind and feels he's in a good spot on and off the course and he plans to use the lessons from the adversity he's faced to write the next chapter in his career – but he's not looking too far ahead.
"Yeah, I mean I feel like definitely in the future I'm looking to be part of [the U.S. Ryder Cup team] and hopefully keep on bringing the cup back to the United States," he said, "but for now it just happened so I'm kind of just happy to be out here for another season on the PGA Tour and I feel like my game's finally starting to come around and I'm working on the right things and not only that, but I just feel like I'm in a better, happier spot than I was last year.
"So even when stuff isn't going my way I feel like I'm handling it a little better now and stuff. So like I said, it's awesome to play well and yeah I feel like I can definitely be a Ryder Cup player in the future, but for right now I'm going to stay in the present and just be happy with being out here."