Matt Every finally makes news for his golf game, rolling in birdies on his last three holes to shoot six-under 64, 10-under total, to lead the Sony Open by two shots at the halfway mark (unless Doug Labelle, who has five holes to play, makes a few birdies coming in).
It’s impossible not to look back to the summer of 2010 during his rookie season at the John Deere Classic when he was arrested (along with two caddies) for possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a misdemeanor charge — which was eventually dropped (he never even had to appear in court). He was later suspended by the PGA Tour for three months for “conduct unbecoming a professional.”
Every’s fine golf has been overshadowed by his interview with Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman. I missed the live version, but instantly received a gazillion texts, tweets and emails about it, all of which included adjectives, like “awkward” and “train wreck.” Naturally, I ran outside to see if he was still around to ask him for his reaction.
Oh, but first, here’s the video in case you missed it (for the record, I found the Lost segue way more uncomfortable):
Asked by Tilghman to take us back to the time he was arrested and suspended, Every said:
“It was alright. I just got three months off. It’s just golf. I don’t think I was doing anything wrong. It happened. I’m the same person, I have the same friends and I don’t think it’s that big of deal. There’s a lot worse stuff that goes on out here than what I got in trouble for and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
And what did you learn?
“I feel like I’m the same person. I’m maybe a little more responsible, but I’m not a huge party animal — I’m married, I got a kid on the way. I just like to live, and whatever happened, happened.”
When I found him and asked him for his account, he wanted to provide some background: “Let me say this — last year during the Disney, I was playing decent in the first round, and I guess on-air Kelly Tilghman said I was back from my suspension for possession of marijuana — I was suspended for conduct unbecoming, not possession of marijuana. So that pissed me off a little.”
I asked if he would have answered differently had he been prepared for the question.
“No, I answered pretty honestly,” said Every. “I’m probably getting crucified for not being politically correct, but whatever. It’s so dumb.”
What was also lost in all of this? No one ever explained the charges were dropped or mentioned Every denied smoking marijuana or being in possession of it. For what it’s worth, I believe him because it only takes about a minute to realize he’s incredibly honest — almost to a fault. He answered every question in his press conference truthfully and asked if he deserved to be suspended, he said, “Probably.”
His comments also back up his original story.
“I was upset at myself,” said Every during his presser. “There’s some stuff I can’t talk about, but I was pissed at the way it was handled. I don’t know. I don’t do drugs. It was a crappy deal, man. Wrong place, wrong time, perfect storm, and you know, I got three months out of it. It’s over with. I’m not mad at the Tour. They did what they had to do. I totally understand it. But it’s over with.”
Then, he presented the best quote of the year — or possibly ever.
“I still hang out with the same people,” he said. “I have great friends, man. If one of my friends likes to smoke marijuana every now and then, I’m not going to say, well, you can’t be my friend anymore. Honestly, man, I know more people who smoke marijuana than who don’t smoke marijuana.
“I know that’s probably not the politically correct thing to say, but it’s the truth. It’s not a big deal to me. Like I don’t frown upon people doing that stuff. I don’t do it, but I don’t frown upon it.”
You know what adjectives I’d use to describe Every (and his interviews)? Refreshing and legendary.