Sports

Identical-name mixup sends Masters invite to ‘informal golfer’ Scott Stallings

Identical-name mixup sends Masters invite to ‘informal golfer’ Scott Stallings

Identical-name mixup sends Masters invite to ‘informal golfer’ Scott Stallings

Remark

Scott Stallings performs golf, however he’s no professional — and definitely not ok to compete on the Masters, considered one of skilled golf’s most prestigious tournaments.

And but, on New 12 months’s Eve, the 60-year-old actual property agent and self-described “informal golfer” acquired an invite to play on the four-day match in Augusta, Ga., this spring, seemingly giving him an opportunity to win a coveted inexperienced jacket, one of many sport’s highest honors.

Besides the invitation was presupposed to go to a different Scott Stallings. A mixture-up with the invitation from the Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership, which hosts the Masters, resulted in it ending up with Stallings, the Atlanta-based actual property agent, as a substitute of Stallings, the 37-year-old skilled golfer and three-time PGA Tour winner.

The Masters is the primary of 4 main tournaments of the yr and the one one played on the same course every year. The sector is proscribed to the world’s finest golfers. By profitable 2022’s match, Scottie Scheffler bagged $2.7 million of the competition’s $15 million purse.

Augusta Nationwide didn’t reply to a request for remark Wednesday.

However all might be granted a mulligan of types. After realizing that he was not the meant recipient, Stallings and his spouse, Jenny, made it their mission to make sure the invitation made it into the suitable arms, he mentioned.

They’re fortunate they discovered the invitation after they did. Scott and Jenny determined to rejoice New 12 months’s with an impromptu getaway at their condominium on St. Simons Island, which they’d bought in August to make use of as a trip rental. However when nobody booked it for the week straddling New 12 months’s Day, they determined to remain there themselves.

They arrived on New 12 months’s Eve. As is their customized whereas touring, Scott began unloading their baggage from the automotive whereas Jenny headed inside. As she approached, she noticed a UPS bundle on the entrance door and opened it. She instantly acknowledged the acquainted Masters inexperienced of the envelope inside and the match’s emblem on the entrance. Jenny thought their years-long effort to attain tickets to the match had lastly paid off. However as she thought-about it, that didn’t make sense as a result of they hadn’t even utilized to get tickets to this yr’s occasion.

Jenny learn the letter inside, realizing that it wasn’t a ticket to observe however an invite to play within the match. She blurted out the information to her husband.

“It felt superb. It felt like we had simply received the lotto,” Scott Stallings mentioned. “We all know that the Masters is simply such an necessary occasion. It was like holding the golden ticket.”

For a second, he let his thoughts wander. He’d simply acquired an invite for Scott Stallings to play within the Masters. He was, actually, Scott Stallings and had a driver’s license to show it. Armed with the official invitation, he suspected that he may wriggle his approach onto the course at Augusta Nationwide and possibly even play just a few holes earlier than anybody was the wiser.

Stallings let his thoughts wander a bit of additional. Perhaps — simply possibly — the invitation was meant for him. Augusta Nationwide might need chosen him at random as a approach of letting the widespread man compete alongside the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

However actuality bullied its approach into Stallings’s ideas, dashing his hopes. He knew there was a professional golfer who shared his identify. And he knew this was not his golden ticket. Though momentarily deflated, the conclusion that he had gotten the invitation by mistake gave the Stallingses new goal.

“We had one thing particular in our arms, however on the similar time, we knew we weren’t the rightful house owners,” Stallings mentioned. “So it was our mission to get it again to the rightful house owners.”

Simply not instantly. As a result of the Stallingses had plans for New 12 months’s Eve, they put the Masters invitation on their eating room desk. It stayed there the following morning as they took their deliberate New 12 months’s Day stroll on the seaside. After evening fell, they returned to their challenge. They needed to get the invitation to professional golfer Scott Stallings, however how?

Jenny despatched a direct message on Instagram to the professional, who replied with a laughing emoji. So that they took photographs of the 2 envelopes and invitation letter and despatched them as proof. Stallings the actual property agent additionally gave Stallings the professional golfer his cellphone quantity.

However he referred to as that evening round 9:30, after Stallings had set his cellphone to “don’t disturb” mode. The decision went to voice mail. On Monday morning, Jenny checked Instagram and noticed that the golfer had posted screenshots of their messages to his account and the story had blown up.

“Actually had been checking the mailbox 5 occasions a day after which I acquired this random DM yesterday,” Stallings wrote.

At 11 a.m., the skilled golfer referred to as again whereas making ready to play the Sentry Event of Champions in Hawaii, and the 2 Scott Stallingses lastly linked. He gave them his residence tackle in Tennessee so they might ship the invitation he’d been eagerly awaiting for weeks.

The subsequent day, Tuesday, Stallings and Jenny took the Masters invitation to a UPS retailer in Georgia. They filmed the expertise in a video they posted to Instagram.

“Okay, Scott, why are we on the UPS retailer?” his spouse requested from behind the digicam.

Carrying a frown and holding up a inexperienced envelope emblazoned with the Masters emblem, Stallings defined.

“Trigger I’m having to ship my invitation to play on the Masters again to the different Scott Stallings,” he mentioned.

Stallings mentioned the professional golfer invited him and his spouse to Augusta throughout Masters week, a token of appreciation for fixing the invitation blunder. That features a dinner with all 4 Stallingses and tickets to observe observe rounds earlier than the match begins on Thursday. Stallings mentioned he’s thrilled to go to Augusta Nationwide throughout Masters week, one thing that’s eluded him for years.

“It’s only a dream come true,” he mentioned.

Stallings remains to be holding out hope that he’ll discover a technique to watch the match — possibly even on the weekend when a champion might be determined. One factor isn’t unsure: Stallings is rooting for his namesake, now greater than ever.

The skilled golfer, nonetheless, nonetheless doesn’t have his invitation. On Wednesday afternoon, the actual property developer checked the monitoring info for the UPS bundle he’d despatched the day earlier than.

“It is en route,” he mentioned. The bundle is scheduled to reach on the golfer’s residence in Knoxville on Thursday, he added.

Then, the actual property agent hedged a bit on his ETA: “I believe.”

The opposite Scott Stallings might be checking the mail.




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