There’s something to be said about The Masters. It comes with this aura about the tournament and Augusta National. When you’re there, it’s just a different feeling. And 2001 had this different feeling as this was my first trip to Augusta with my Dad.
My father had a big job at a TV channel and through his TV connections a couple of tickets were to be his for a weekend round. We had planned the trip a year in advance, paying a non-refundable hotel for 3 nights, flights, car, we had it all booked. The anticipation was agonizing! Since I was a kid, I adored The Masters! Wow, I am really going to Augusta National, a club that I thought I would never get a chance to see in person!
As the year went on that’s all we had talked about. Masters this, Augusta National that, the greatest players, the history and we are going!!!
The months clicked by and there wasn’t much chatter about the tickets.
It’s now about January and our ticket connection goes dead cold. So cold we ain’t gettin’ no tickets!! We decided to go anyway and get a couple from a ticket broker.
That Thursday of the tournament we fly to Augusta, check in to our hotel and immediately hit the hotel bar looking for a ticket broker. We clue the bartender in and within a few minutes we are having a beer with a broker. Just remember, it’s 2001 and Tiger is in the field in the middle of his hey day. The broker knows our situation. We are prepared to pay!! The broker says he can get us 2 for either day on the weekend. Cool. We exchange cell numbers and off we went.
We play golf on Friday at the Augusta Muni. Had a great time in the clubhouse with the locals. Call the broker, no answer. Called several more times..nothing. Went back to the hotel bar and bartender says he hasn’t seen the broker. He hooks us up with 2 other numbers to call different brokers. These guys have nothing available. We are about to get skunked for the tickets.
Saturday comes and we decide to play golf at the Muni again. We get hooked up with this guy, southern twang, smooth dude. We play 3 or 4 holes and he asked if we’ve gotten over to Augusta. We tell him the whole story, the anticipation, the brokers who vanished. He doesn’t say too much.
There’s an airport adjacent to one of the holes at the Muni. And it’s filled with private jets. So I’m looking over and said ‘I can’t imagine owning one the those jets.’ He looks at me and says ‘mine is right here’ and points at this beautiful private jet. Then out of nowhere offers his 2 badges for Sundays final round to me and my Dad! The deal was we just had to meet him at the gate at 3pm as he wanted to see the end of the tournament.
That night we took him to dinner at French Market Grill and had a great time. This guy hardly knew us and handed us the 2 badges like we were his best friends! I guarded those badges like a pot of gold.
Sunday morning came quickly. We got to the gate at 8am. We had a great day, talked with a couple members in Green Jackets, ate pimento cheese sandwiches, broke our banks at the store, were amazed at the beauty and undulations of the course and met him back at the gate at 3pm. We thanked him over and over. On the way back to the hotel, we were laughing so hard because this sequence of events were truely unexplainable.
Clearly, this was a Masters Miracle!!