BROOKLINE, Massachusetts. You’ll never know by his voice, but Scott Stallings is from Massachusetts.
The professional golfer was born in Worcester and lived there until he was three years old before his family moved to Tennessee. This is where Stallings developed his Southern accent.
“I’m a confused redneck from New England. But I can speak both languages,” Stallings, 37, said. “I can flip R, drag As, and I can take 10 minutes to say one sentence. I always say that I learned the language from my mother.”
A three-time PGA Tour winner, Stallings is in Brooklyn this week for the 122nd US Open at The Country Club.
“It means a little more…,” Stallings wrote in a May 23 social media post. many of my family are still alive… it’s special.”
Although he’s thrilled to be back in Boston, the burly golfer says he’s on a business trip. But that mindset hasn’t stopped him from enjoying Italian food in the North End or discussing the possibility of jumping on a boat with his kids.
“As exciting as it is to be here and definitely my favorite city, it’s still work. So that’s first and foremost,” Stallings said. “…After all, this is a golf tournament. There are 18 holes from start to finish. So put your head down and deal with it.”
Last year, Stallings signed a partnership with NOBULL, a footwear, apparel and accessories brand that also sponsors New England Patriots quarterback Mack Jones. During this week’s practice rounds, a group of people wearing NOBULL clothes followed Stalling.
One such person was Matt O’Keeffe from Massachusetts. O’Keeffe and Stallings became friends four years ago through fitness classes.
“He helps me with golf and I help him with fitness,” said O’Keeffe, who attended Boston College. “He wouldn’t agree with that, but that’s how we met.”
Scott Stallings throws a rough shot on the fifth green during the first round of the US Open golf tournament. Photo: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports
O’Keefe served Stallings for all three practice rounds. The two bonded through fitness and their love of Boston sports.
“I’m so happy for him,” O’Keeffe said. “I know that was one of his main goals – especially this year, but maybe in his career as well – to return home, because how often do you have to play in a major championship in your home city?”
One hint that Stallings has connections to Boston is his account. On one side is a Boston Red Sox red “B” logo and on the other side is a New England Patriots logo.
On Tuesday, Stallings and his family toured Fenway Park and attended a Sox game. Stallings posted on social media a photo of his wife and two children sitting in Green Monster seats with the caption “It doesn’t get much better”, followed by a red heart and a baseball emoji.
Two days later, Stallings bet on the 10th hole to start his third open championship.
He started with a bogey on the 500-yard par 4 before pinning two par 4s. Stallings then spooked the 437-yard par 4 13th hole before he recovered on the next hole with a birdie. However, Stallings failed to make it and hit three more scarecrows to finish 74 for 4 over par.
“Today is not my best result on the track, but it’s a win,” Stallings wrote on Instagram after the round, citing a photo of the braid he had braided into his daughter’s hair. “Better tomorrow @usopengolf.”
Scott Stallings hits from the third tee during the first round of the US Open. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
In 2019, Stallings missed an 80-74 open run at Shinnecock Hills, while he made a pass in 2013 at Merion Golf Club and finished 53rd. This year, he hopes to compete at the weekend.
“Obviously throughout the season and career you have places that you usually focus on and want to be ready for, and this was definitely one of them,” Stallings said. “I have worked hard to get here. We’re not just here to participate. We are here to compete.”
“It’s going to be a crazy weekend and I hope Scott will be there to experience it because I think the crowd will pass him around like a hometown kid,” O’Keeffe said.
Stallings starts his second round on Friday at hole #1 at 13:14.
Tommy Cassell is a senior multimedia journalist for the Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @tommycassell44.
Check out the footage book: Country Club Compound Track for the 2022 US Open.