Steamboat Springs Scott Matthews rubbed elbows with the pros at the 2007 U.S. Open last week in Western Pennsylvania. In fact, he walked the course during the June 13 practice round.
And on Sunday, Matthews was mere feet from eventual event champion Angel Cabrera.
But the best experience for Matthews - an assistant pro at Haymaker Golf Course - was watching his younger brother play two rounds at the brutally tough Oakmont Golf Club.
Matthews, who took the assistant pro position at Haymaker earlier in the year, traveled to Pennsylvania before the beginning of the 107th U.S. Open to watch his brother, Andy, play.
"He had a great time," Scott said. "He enjoyed it immensely. He said the same thing as everyone: It played fair, but it was tough. You couldn't miss fairways."
Andy Matthews, who plays on the Canadian Tour, qualified in a U.S. Open sectional tournament at Riverside Country Club in North Riverside, Ill.
"I was right there with the players when they came out," Scott said. "I had access to the putting greens and the driving range. These guys are so good all the way from the amateurs to the top-end pros."
Although Andy failed to make the cut after shooting 20-over par, Scott said the experience is something neither will forget.
From the layout of the course to the unforgiving rough and the speed of the greens, the experience was almost surreal for Scott.
"TV doesn't do (the course) justice," Scott said. "The elevation changes and the undulations in the fairways and greens. The rough was brutal. If you hit it in the rough, your first thought was just get it out. Your first thought was just to make bogey."
Scott said Andy - who had rounds of 79 and 81 - played well on Day 1 of the tournament in part because of his solid putting.
Andy finished the first round with 30 putts.
In the second round, Andy was in the last group to go off the first hole. After carding a 37 - his best nine of the tournament - on the front, Scott said Andy was right on the cut line.
"He made the turn and Tiger (Woods) was like an hour in front of him and on the other side," Scott said. "It was like the energy got drained out. He made a bogey and started to press to make a birdie or two."
Although Andy missed the cut by 12 shots, Scott said watching his brother play at the U.S. Open was something special.
"The best part was watching him play in a tournament of this magnitude," Scott said. "This and the British Open are probably the two biggest in the world. Only 156 guys play in it. Getting the chance to watch him inside the ropes was just incredible."