Matthew Jordan watched Rory McIlroy win The Open at his home course of Royal Liverpool in 2014 with no notion that he would one day join the world number one on the European Tour.
Even 18 short months ago, Jordan could not be sure he would ever make it as a pro golfer.
Now he’s settling in alongside the big guns during his rookie season on Tour and has the world at his feet.
Jordan’s story is truly inspirational and his telling of it proved to be fascinating for the England Golf squad players who logged in for an online Q&A session this week.
As a young amateur, Jordan was a slow burner, making his way steadily rather than spectacularly through the boys’ squads.
Then his game clicked with victories in the St Andrews Links Trophy and Lytham Trophy and a place in the 2017 Walker Cup.
A year later he turned pro – but with many questions about his suitability for the pro game still unanswered.
Yet a true competitive edge shaped in the England Golf squads soon shone through.
A course record 63 in the first round of the British Masters at Hillside in May 2019 – where he played on an invite – brought his name to the fore.
Victory in a Challenge Tour Event in Italy last June lit a fire under him and it’s still burning brightly today as he makes his way on the full tour.
During a relaxed chat with squad players and coaches, Jordan talked about his rise in the game, his hopes for the future, his methods on the course and his dedication to smart practice routines.
And he later admitted his rise is something he didn’t think of as a kid and even dare to dream about as a young adult.
“It’s certainly been unexpected from where I was a little over a year ago,” admitted the 24-year-old.
“I didn’t even have Challenge Tour status and I was just trying to play where I could.
“It happened so quickly.
“I played eight events after I turned pro and hadn’t done very well, but at least I got some experience.
“The big one for me was a Challenge Tour event in Turkey – I shot 62 which was the lowest round I’d ever shot. I was in contention all week and then finished in the top 10.
“Then I played in the British Masters and shot nine under on day one and the confidence built ahead of my win in Italy.
“It all snowballed very quickly.
“You don’t know that until you get there – there is a worry that the guys are on a different level and are loads better.
“I had watched great tour events featuring the top players on TV and then suddenly I’m walking into a venue and joining these guys on the range. It’s pretty cool.
“As a fan that was big at the beginning, but I’m trying to do as well as possible and that soon loses its appeal. I want to focus, do well, stay on tour and achieve more.”
Growing up in Hoylake – the location of one of the world’s great links courses at Royal Liverpool – meant Jordan was spoiled for inspiration as a youngster.
As a 10-year-old he remembers being obsessed when Tiger Woods rolled into town and put on a ball-striking masterclass to win the 2006 Open Championship.
“I got Adam Scott’s ball on a practice round and I got Phil Mickelson’s autograph and Sergio Garcia’s too,” said Jordan with a smile.
“I didn’t get Tiger’s – I just froze when he walked past and I didn’t have the courage to ask!
“But it stands out.”
As an 18-year-old amateur, Jordan was a spectator at the 2014 Open at Hoylake when McIlroy claimed the Claret Jug.
“It does inspire you,” he added.
“In 2014, that same summer, I got my A levels and a place into Uni, but my dad said I should defer and try golf for a year or two.
“I hadn’t thought about it. I thought I’d play the summer and do something else. Maybe study psychology.
“Then I tried it and still never had the thought of where I would end up.
“It was only when I started doing well that the thoughts changed.
“It was a blessing in disguise I didn’t go to Uni when I see what has happened since.”
Jordan has had to adapt during lockdown, but has kept sharp – even winning a virtual event when top pros battled it with an online round at Valderrama!
His next outing is the British Masters at Close House next month when his adventure continues.
“I was happy to chat with the England players as I enjoyed my time in the set-up working with great coaches and learning the game,” he added.
“Hopefully, what I passed on and my story so far can help someone else make the same step.”