Matt Wallace thought he was the victim of a wind-up after finding out he will play the first two rounds of the Open Championship with his hero Tiger Woods.
Wallace will partner 15-time major winner Woods and former Masters champion Patrick Reed in front of sell-out crowds for the opening two days at Royal Portrush as The Open returns to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.
"I got a text about the draw a bit before it came out and I was just searching through and saw my name and thought it was a bit of a spoof," the 29-year-old Londoner said.
"I actually thought it was a wind-up because of the time it was (3.10pm on Thursday) and thought Tiger would be playing at that time.
"It's a proud moment to play with him in an Open. Hopefully I can stick to my game plan and produce in front of him. Massively this is a dream come true. He is my hero and I am playing with him in an Open.
"It caps everything, it is probably the biggest moment in my career to date, a reward for all the hard work I have done. Hopefully it can kick me on for the rest of my career.”
Wallace missed the cut at Carnoustie last year but finished 19th in the US PGA Championship the following month at Bellerive – where he made a hole-in-one while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the third round – and was third behind Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson in the same event in May.
The four-time European Tour winner also played alongside Koepka on his way to a tie for 12th in the US Open at Pebble Beach and believes he is capable of adding a major title to his increasingly impressive CV.
"It's difficult myself to believe it when my best performance at the start of the year was 19th in a major, but now finishing third and 12th, and playing with Brooks at Pebble I was really happy with my attitude there.
"It was the proudest I've ever been on a golf course because I was three over after nine holes and managed to eagle the last to shoot level par with the World No.1 and four-time major champion."
- Phil Casey, PAA