Dominic Castelvetere was bent on following Jason Day’s practice round once they finally got to Chambers Bay on Monday.
He had no clue he’d be walking with the 10th-ranked golfer in the world and hanging out with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson three days before the start of the U.S. Open.
Day is the same golfer who last year surprised the now 15-year-old Castelvetere with a free lesson and video chatted with him on his birthday. Castelvetere and his family came from Mansfield, Ohio, after securing the trip through a foundation formed by Steve Gleason, the former Washington State University football player diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Castelvetere’s mother, Beth, also suffers from ALS and watched her son and Day finish the practice round from her wheelchair.
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“That was something I thought I would never be able to experience,” Dominic Castelvetere said.
Day said his wife, Ellie, and the Castelveteres have a mutual friend. He and the family first met paintballing.
Castelvetere’s father, Miko, said that Beth created a bucket list of things she wanted to see before she died. One of them — if she couldn’t see Day win a tournament, she would like Dominic to walk a course with him.
Day’s father died of stomach cancer when the Australian was 12, so he said he wanted to do something for the Castelveteres.
“You just never know. I could get in a car crash tonight and not survive. You have to make the most of every moment,” Day said. “Golfers can be kind of selfish with their time because you have to be. But it just feels good to be able to give back and be able to do that.”
Miko said he was informed about a month ago that Day wanted Dominic to walk with him, but he kept it a secret. Dominic was wearing a polo shirt, hat, pants and belt — all things he said Day sent to him that the PGA Tour professional used to wear.
Dominic, who will be a sophomore at Ontario High School in Ohio next year and made the varsity golf team this past year, said he also got to talk golf with Woods and Johnson during his experience. But he was so nervous he couldn’t remember what they talked about.
“I was walking with (Day) and he was like, ‘Are you OK, man? Are you all right?’ ” Dominic said. “It was fun.”