‘Social media is disgusting’: Matt Every on why he shuns networks

‘Social media is disgusting’: Matt Every on why he shuns networks


att Every’s reticence about public comment is as understandable as it is unfortunate. The cruel reality is that the 36-year-old Floridian has as many PGA Tour wins – two – as he has suspensions linked to marijuana. That the latter is the more common point of reference has forced the thoughtful and articulate Every into his shell.

“I don’t like being known for the marijuana stuff,” Every says. “It sucks for me because I feel like I’m an extremely genuine person but face to face interaction doesn’t carry as much weight as a Google search or an Instagram page. Google is basically snapshots of the shitty moments of my life. I don’t participate in social media because I think it’s disgusting but if I did, I could alter how I want people to see me. That, to me, is a major part of the problem in the world we live in. I’ll never understand the need for strangers’ approval. I just don’t feel it’s genuine to create a platform and try to portray my life a certain way.

“The stigma sucks. That’s less than a per cent of my life.”

A decade ago, Every was banned by the Tour for 90 days despite denying possession of marijuana in a hotel room. “It was a weird deal,” he recalls. “Wrong place, wrong time. I was a 25/26-year-old kid on Tour having some fun. I’m a way different person now.” Every returned to win one of the PGA Tour’s biggest events, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, in 2014 and 2015.

That did not, however, stop further aspersions being cast Every’s way after he was handed another three-month break last year. He had tested positive for cannabis, which was being used via prescription to treat psychological issues. Every stands by his description of a “tired” and “lazy” anti-doping policy which triggered his ban.

“First of all, I’ve never done it when playing golf on the PGA Tour,” Every explains. “But anyone who says you can get an advantage has never done it. You can throw depth perception out the window, feel, touch, awareness, everything. You’d have zero chance. It’s a lazy argument.”

Every has sympathy for Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner whom the golfer brands the best in sport. “I was disappointed in myself,” Every adds. “I was disappointed that I put Jay in a spot where he had to do something. You can cheat in golf, basically, and get nothing. And this, where I am using it for mental-health reasons, I get three months for it. I’m not going to put myself in that position again but I think it [the policy] will change soon.

“I haven’t found anything else, really. Dealing with my thoughts is always going to be a challenge. I am not walking around stoned 24/7. It comes in waves. I think it’s the cleanest way to treat it, for sure, but I can’t stress enough that I’m not trying to be an activist for marijuana use.”

Every is candid about his struggles. This transcends golf, a profession he admits can be both therapeutic and tortuous. “I go deep dark,” Every says. “Sometimes I can make myself feel terrible about the most innocent thing. I’ll feel guilty about anything; selling myself short, not being in my kids’ lives as much as I want to be. It’s a constant battle.

I care a lot, about a lot of things. The way the world is just now, I struggle with the direction it’s going

“I know I have plenty of talent. I struggle being present in my mind. Sometimes my mind is spread too thin. It might come off like I don’t care but it’s actually the opposite. I care a lot, about a lot of things. The way the world is just now, I struggle with the direction it’s going. If something goes bad, other things become important in my head. It sounds like a sports psychologist issue but it’s just who I am, I have learned it’s not going to change. I have come to grips with being who I am. I am going to struggle with being present for five hours on a golf course.”

Every is self-effacing regarding the absence of crowds on the PGA Tour. “Nobody watches me anyway,” he says with a laugh. He has enjoyed the pace of a fan-free environment, partly because players have less tendency to play to the galleries. “I love playing golf,” he adds. “I don’t take it for granted and I still think my best stuff is ahead of me. The physical parts of my game are fine, I just sometimes have to trick myself out there.”

Mancunian music has been a consistent help. If Oasis in the United States largely comprises of Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova, Every scratched below the surface almost 15 years ago and has never looked back. “When I got out of school I was living with a buddy and depressed,” he says. “At night, I was on YouTube and ended up doing a deep dive on Oasis. I got into some of their more raw stuff and it brought me out of my funk. I am a massive, massive fan. It’s the sound; how can you listen to Columbia and not want to run through a wall? I feel like I can relate to their music and I have a little bit of rock and roll in my life. To me, they are the last real rock and roll band.

“Music is big for me at night if I’m struggling. I’ll just go down a rabbit hole with a band or listen to a song that brings me back to when times were good.”

Not that encountering the Gallagher brothers has ever represented even mild temptation, despite Every once shadowing three months of a Noel tour. “I have met some of my idols and it’s just a letdown. I’d rather them be what I think they are.”

Yet as Every knows only too well, perception can be a million miles from reality.