Pro dunks shot in the water. Then makes a surprising, classy move

Matt Wallace continued his interview despite knocking his second shot in the water.

Matt Wallace kept going with his walk-and-talk after a water ball.

NBC Sports

Matt Wallace is trying something different this week at the Mexico Open and it was tested big time during his 14th hole Saturday.

The veteran Englishman said he’s been having trouble starting rounds, so he and his caddie devised a unique solution.

“We kind of came up with a system of starting over par so we’ve already played one round. To make the cut, you’ve got to get yourself into it. So yesterday (Thursday) was four over and we managed to shoot one under, which is five under,” Wallace said Friday. “That sort of determination and focus really helped.”

Wallace didn’t reveal what number he started at for Saturday’s third round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta, but he was still at that score when he reached the 14th hole.

He was eight shots back after Jake Knapp blitzed the front nine for a course-record 28 despite starting the round tied for the lead with Knapp and two others at 11 under. Wallace was treading water at even par, officially. But in his mind, he was a couple over.

But nonetheless, as he prearranged before the round, someone from NBC Sports handed him a set of Bluetooth headphones as he headed down the fairway for a mid-round walk-and-talk interview.

Despite not being a household name, Wallace definitely entertained.

First, he was asked to further explain his new mindset of believing he was already over par to start his round.

“We seem to be going over par and then grinding and getting it back,” Wallace said. “So it’s sort of like that mindset to start a little bit angrier, a little bit more frustrated, but focused. And it really helps me because I seem to play my best golf when I’m in that state.”

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Getting angrier isn’t exactly a new concept for Wallace. He’s had some notable hot-headed moments in recent years both on the course, and off the course.

He also could have been forgiven (partially at least) for having another one Saturday on 14.

After hitting his tee shot into the right rough on the 556-yard par-5, Wallace went for the green from 265 yards.

The result was one he probably wished no one was watching. His ball started at the left edge of the green, but quickly slid right.

“Needs to hang in there,” said NBC Analyst John Wood. “This may be over-cutting fellas.”

Splash! Wood was right. His ball headed straight for the pond that guards the green.

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When the walk-and-talks debuted last year on NBC and CBS, the segment’s few critics claimed the bit could be a distraction to players. Yet few players made bogey or worse while speaking with the commentators between shots.

However, this was a situation that hadn’t come up yet in the year-plus of the new practice. Wallace had no obligation to continue the interview as he walked down to the green to take his drop. The NBC producer who was holding the headset for him while he hit the shot even reminded him he didn’t have to keep going.

That’s the same way all interviews work on the PGA Tour. Players don’t have to speak to the media if they don’t want to. During the heated environment of an actual competitive round, that probably goes double.

But that’s when Wallace made a surprising move. He put the earpieces back on and explained the mishit to Dan Hicks and Co.

“I thought the lie was good enough,” Wallace said. “We knew it’d come out a little bit spinny. Wind out the right, it was a perfect number for 3-wood. Didn’t expect it really to come out that spinny and that cutty.”

And as if things on 14 couldn’t get any worse for Wallace, it was then he got an unwanted visitor, to his eyeball.

“And um, it’s just— oh, just got a fly in my eye. It’s all going for me on this hole, that’s great. Yeah, it’s not quite going my way today.”

Wallace dropped, pitched onto the green and two-putted for an eventful bogey, but like so many others after their walk-and-talk segments, he picked up a shot immediately with a birdie at the 15th to get back to even, where he’d finish the day.

He’ll go into the final round at 11 under, eight back of Knapp who shot 63 Saturday.

But before he reached the 14th green, the broadcasters applauded him for the touch of class in continuing the interview in his moment of strife.

“This is all part of it, isn’t it?” Wallace said. “I need to deal with this. I need to get stronger. I need to play better golf and accept it. Get this up and down, and we go again. I can’t do anything about more than what I’m trying to do right now, it’s just not going my way.”

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at