With all this talk of a record Mega Millions payout, the news that I had struck lottery gold actually came long before that.
My lottery tickets, to Augusta National, arrived in my mailbox a month earlier.
I booked my flight, zero hour, 9 am.
This trip was half a year in the making. I’m no planner but this was to be a special occasion. After all, it’s not every day one is awarded four passes to the Masters Par Three Tournament held every Wednesday before the real deal actually starts.
Tiger, Jack, Arnie, Gary, Phil, SportsChump, we’d all be there.
I had been to Augusta once before, America’s golfing mecca. But 2012 brought Round Two.
On the invite list, Liar North, Brotha E and the Don Calvino, not only the best of friends for twenty plus years but a list of bourbon drinkers whose tolerance I’d pit against Jack Daniels himself.
Then came notice that the Don would be unable to make the trip. The remaining three of us put our heads together to come up with a last minute replacement. Partykiller was a likely, yet dangerous, substitute because his overall temperament after too much liquor. He’s been thrown out of sporting events before. Notice I said events with an s. In fact, Partykiller’s probably been tossed from more games than Ozzie Guillen. His presence would be a gamble. The last thing any of us wanted was an altercation at Augusta. Nobody had extra bail money.
Confirmation on our fourth would have to wait.
Regardless, my goal on this trip is to eat, drink and golf merry. To spend time with good friends, fit in at least 36, possibly 54, holes of golf in Charlotte before heading to Augusta and just enjoy my first vacation in nearly two years. And oh yeah, also see some of the world’s greatest golfers play one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses.
The plan will not be deviated from.
The only thing for certain is that I’ll be shooting over par, the pros will be shooting under and we will all wake up every morning tremendously hungover.