How Matt Parziale went from fighting fires to playing alongside Tiger at Augusta

5:38 PM ET

Evan Gibson, golf coach at Southeastern University, noticed something every time Matt Parziale returned to the Lakeland, Florida, school from his Brockton, Massachusetts, home. Parziale came back better, tougher, more prepared to dominate. He was always hitting the ball where he was aiming it after spending time with his old man, Vic, a firefighter who knew his way around the course.

“Nobody could reach Matt like Vic could,” Gibson said. The coach now sells real estate in Tulsa, and he takes no credit for the arrival of his former star player at the Masters. “I was just trying to steer the ship and not hit an iceberg,” Gibson said by phone. He is an old Buffalo Bills fan from upstate New York, and Parziale is a young New England Patriots fan from southeastern Massachusetts. And just as they agree to disagree on matters concerning the AFC East, they allow each other contrasting takes on Gibson’s role in Parziale’s improbable rise.

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