Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Once in a Lifetime

Did you know that there is a lottery that you can enter to be able to win the chance to purchase tickets to the Masters?   I didn't....but somehow I won. ;)
Ben has registered for the last few years but hasn't ever won.  He decided to register me last year instead of registering himself, and I won the chance to buy tickets for the practice round!
Now, I'm not a huge golfer and honestly can't think of anything more boring to watch on TV.  I do like to actually go to the golf course with Ben and watch him play as I ride in a cart, but the act of watching others on tv literally puts me to sleep.
So, when Ben said we won, I toyed with the idea of whether I should go or whether he should ask someone like his Dad or brother to go since they would probably get in to it a little more than I would. Part of me wanted to go just because it seemed like a once in a lifetime experience (I had no idea how true this would be :)) but the other part of me wanted Ben to really get to experience it with someone else that could share his passion for the sport.  However, Ben kept telling me that we could make it a "fun getaway" together and that he wanted me to go, so I committed to going.
We left after lunch and headed towards Augusta.  Ben had me fully prepared for the drive with several handouts of history and fun facts about the Masters.  haha Love him.

We made a few stops along the way and didn't get there until later that evening.  We actually stayed at a bed and breakfast about 45 minutes outside of Augusta.   It was so cute, but I somehow forgot to take pictures.  It was in a huge plantation house with a porch that wrapped around the outside.  We sat in rocking chairs on the porch for a little while just enjoying the night air before heading in to bed before our big day.

We woke up early the next morning and headed out.  The weather was beautiful and believe it or not, I was excited. Now, let me stop right here and mention that before we even left Birmingham, Ben informed me that there was no need to bring my camera because they weren't allowed in the park.  I listened and didn't even pack it.  Well, when we pulled up to the gates to the course, there were signs all over that said cameras were permitted on practice round days only.  Cell phones never permitted.  Bummer.  I didn't have a camera :(

I left my phone in my purse and even after walking through security and having two people check my purse, nobody said anything to me about needing to take my phone out.  So, in my mind I'm thinking, "I won't dare use it for calling/talking purposes, but I will use the camera so I can remember this once in a lifetime chance."

We watched several of the guys at the practice range as soon as we walked in.  I'm not even going to try to pretend like I know their names or who they are.  I just let Ben tell me in the moment who the big wigs were.

We walked most of the course in the morning and tried to find people that Ben cared about.  Since it was the practice round, it was a little tricky because people kind of came and practiced on their own time.  It seemed like none of the golfers were out early in the morning.   Tiger didn't even make an appearance until 2:30 that afternoon.
The course was absolutely beautiful.  I enjoyed my tour guide "Ben" who gave me all the information that I needed and more about each hole. For example, I learned about hole 10 where Bubba Watson hit a shot to win the Masters last year, and I even saw and learned about Amen corner.
My most favorite part of the whole day though was when we just sat in the bleachers at hole 16.  I loved this one because you can literally watch the golfer from start to finish.  We saw them tee off and putt it in to the hole.  Since it was the practice round they also hit an extra ball and tried to skid it across the water and back up on the green.  It was so entertaining, and pretty funny to see some of their personalities show.
Many of them would act like they wren't going to "skip the ball" and just acted as if they were going to walk around the pond to the hole.  Crowds would boo, holler, and yell to which all of the golfers would then turn back around and skip it.  Some of them even skipped it all at the same time.   So fun.

When Tiger finally came out to practice,  we chased him down and watched him play a few holes.  I snapped a couple of pictures in between the masses and masses of people following him.  It was nuts.
By this time of day it was around 4:30 and Ben and I were both exhausted.  We decided it was time to leave since we still had the long drive back to Birmingham ahead of us.   However, since we were right next a specific hole, Ben said "Let's just go watch Tiger tee off, and then we will leave." 
This is what did it.  I got greedy as we were standing right behind him preparing to tee off. Hundreds of people around us had out their gigantic cameras and were clicking away.  You could literally here click, click, click, all over the place.  I pulled out my phone to take a picture and a security guy came over to me and basically said that he needed to take me to the secerity office because it was against the rules to have a phone on the course.  Busted.

Long story short, they took down my name and I am no longer allowed to win or purchase tickets to the Masters under my name.   They made sure to tell me that I can still go to the Masters, I just can't be eligible to win them or buy them.  They also made it very clear that I had to be escorted out of the gate immediately.  They were so serious about it that they wouldn't even let me go back to the building where we had checked several items that we had purchased in the gift shop.  Ben had to go by himself. 

The best part about it is that I didn't even get a good picture.  Because it was so crowded, all I got was the top of some bald man's head. To be honest, I don't even know why I wanted a picture.  I told Ben, " I have no idea what I would ever do with a picture of Tiger Woods teeing off.  It was just like a rush where you feel the need to take a picture...kind of like when you go to the zoo and you take pictures of all the animals.  Why in the world does anybody do that?  Who cares about pictures of the animals?" 

Now, in my defense (if I should even have a defense... a rules a rule and I clearly broke it) I still don't see what the big deal is about having phones since it is the practice round. If it were the real deal, that would make total sense to me. If they didn't allow cameras, phones, or anything on the practice round days that would even make sense to me and I never would have brought it in the park.  The fact that you can have cameras, even those giant ones that make about twenty clicks at the touch of a button, just makes the no phone deal a little crazy to me, especially since so many people use their phones as their camera these days.  There was at least one security guard that mentioned that to me as well.  She said several people had gotten in trouble for having phones all day long and that she thought with this day and time they needed to revamp the rules.  I agreed.

Nonetheless, it was still a rule and I knew it, and I broke it. I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself and sad that I had probably made such a happy and fun day for Ben end a little sour. Eventually (not at first :)) we both laughed about it on the way home and we laugh about it now.

Overall, with the exception of getting in trouble, it was such a fun trip and I am so glad that I was able to go.  It really was nice for Ben and I to get away just the two of us.  We appreciated Lovie for watching Mary Hyatt for us while we were gone! We know she had a fun time too!

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