Hundreds of spectators came out to the final round of the John Deere Classic on Sundy, but one family there held a special place with a special golfer.
It all started with Matt Solis, who played golf in college with Dylan Frittelli’s backup caddie.
When Matt offered up the family home for tournament week, none of them knew just how memorable it would become.
“You play golf, you play well, you earn what you get and no one can take that away from you,” Frittelli said during a press conference after his win.
There’s a lot that goes into the making of a champion.
For the 2019 JDC champion, that includes one Coal Valley family.
“My backup caddie actually knew a family in town, the Solis family, and he said, ‘You can go stay with them, if you want to.’ And I always prefer that, to stay in a home, stay with people, because hotels get really boring,” Frittelli said.
Jim and Sharilyn Solis had hosted their son’s golf friends, before, but Matt says this time was different.
“This felt a lot different because I knew Dylan, he was good enough to win… We knew Dylan was a special golfer,” Matt Solis says.
For a week, the family says they learned a lot living with Dylan Frittelli.
“How they calm themselves down on the golf course and stuff like that. It was interesting,” Jim says.
Including eating habits.
“He took us up [on dinner] a couple of times but then he liked to stay a lot healthier than we usually are,” Sharilyn says.
“Although he did like his Whitey’s ice cream… They gave him a few cups of Whitey’s Ice cream and he brought a bunch of them back to the house, put them in the freezer,” Jim says.
And as the rounds racked up, so did the family’s emotions.
“When you’re out there you have control over the situation and not having control over the situation and just watching him play, it’s pretty nerve racking, I know that i’ts a big deal. And he seemed really calm out there and didn’t seem nervous, so I think we were probably more nervous than he was coming down the stretch,” says Matt.
Matt hopes his family helped with the player’s state of mind.
“We kind of just let him do his own thing and he had plenty of time to relax and get away from it all off the golf course and I think that really helped,” he says.
“They welcomed me into their home, I had dinner with them most nights, and managed to stay in their basement, had a great set up there, I was really relaxed, they let me come and go, do what I needed to. The hospitality was really great,” Frittelli told Local 4 News after his win on Sunday.
In the end, it was a special win for the Solis family.
“We kind of considered him our adopted son while he was here and we just got excited for him,” Sharilyn says.
They hope this is just the beginning of a new friendship with Frittelli.
They’re now rooting for Frittelli to make it to the BMW Championship.
They hope to travel to Medinah, Illinois, to watch him play there in August.