Main menu

Pages

Eponymous Confusion Sends Masters Calling For 'Casual Golfer' Scott Stallings

featured image

comment

Scott Stallings plays golf, but he’s not a pro – and he’s certainly not good enough to compete in the Masters, one of the most prestigious professional golf tournaments.

And yet, on New Year’s Eve, the 60-year-old real estate agent and self-described “casual golfer” received an invitation to play in the four-day tournament in Augusta, Georgia, this spring, apparently giving him a chance to win a coveted green jacket, one of the sport’s highest honors.

Except the invite was supposed to go to another Scott Stallings. A mix-up with the Augusta National Golf Club, host of the Masters, resulted in Stallings, the Atlanta real estate agent, instead of Stallings, the 37-year-old professional golfer and three-time PGA Tour winner.

The Masters is the first of the four major tournaments of the year and the only one played on the same course each year. The course is limited to the best golfers in the world. By winning the 2022 tournament, Scottie Scheffler pocketed $2.7 million of the contest’s $15 million purse.

Augusta National did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

But everyone will receive a mulligan of sorts. After realizing he wasn’t the intended recipient, Stallings and his wife, Jenny, made it their mission to make sure the invite made it into the right hands, he said.

They are lucky they found the invite when they did. Scott and Jenny decided to ring in the New Year with an impromptu getaway at their St. Simons Island, which they bought in August to use as a vacation rental. But when no one booked for New Year’s Day week they decided to stay there.

They arrived on New Year’s Eve. As is customary during travel, Scott began unloading the luggage from the car as Jenny entered. As she approached, she saw a UPS package at the front door and opened it. She immediately recognized the familiar Masters green on the envelope inside and the tournament logo on the front. Jenny thought her years of effort to get tickets to the tournament finally paid off. But when you think about it, it didn’t make sense because they hadn’t even applied to get tickets for this year’s event.

Jenny read the letter inside it, realizing it wasn’t a ticket to watch, but an invitation to reproduce in the tournament. She blurted out the news to her husband.

“It was amazing. It felt like we had just won the lottery,” said Scott Stallings. “We know the Masters is such an important event. It was like holding the golden ticket.”

For a moment, he let his mind wander. He had just received an invitation from Scott Stallings to play in the Masters. He was, in fact, Scott Stallings and he had the driver’s license to prove it. Armed with the official invitation, he suspected he could make his way to the Augusta National course and maybe even play a few holes before anyone noticed.

Stallings let his mind wander a little further. Maybe – just maybe – the invitation was for him. Augusta National may have chosen him at random as a way to let the common man compete alongside Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

But reality invaded Stallings’ thoughts, dashing his hopes. He knew there was a professional golfer with the same name. And he knew this wasn’t his golden ticket. Though momentarily disheartened, the realization that he had mistakenly received the invitation gave the Stallings new purpose.

“We had something special on our hands, but at the same time, we knew we weren’t the rightful owners,” said Stallings. “So our mission was to return it to the rightful owners.”

Just not right away. Since the Stallingses had plans for New Year’s Eve, they placed the Master’s invitation on the dining room table. He stayed there the next morning while they went on their planned New Year’s outing to the beach. After night fell, they returned to the project. They had to get an invitation from professional golfer Scott Stallings, but how?

Jenny sent a direct message on Instagram to the professional, who responded with a laughing emoji. Then they took pictures of the two envelopes and the letter of invitation and sent them as proof. Stallings, the real estate agent, also gave Stallings, the professional golfer, his phone number.

But he called that night around 9:30 am after Stallings put his phone on “do not disturb” mode. The call went to voicemail. On Monday morning, Jenny checked Instagram and saw that the golfer had posted screenshots of his messages on her account and the story exploded.

“Literally checked the mailbox five times a day and then I got this random DM yesterday,” Stallings wrote.

At 11am, the professional golfer called back as he prepared to play the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, and the two Scott Stallings finally connected. He gave them his home address in Tennessee so they could send the invitation he’d been looking forward to for weeks.

The next day, Tuesday, Stallings and Jenny took the Masters invitation to a UPS store in Georgia. They filmed the experience in a video they posted on Instagram.

“Okay Scott, why are we at the UPS store?” his wife asked from behind the camera.

Frowning and holding a green envelope emblazoned with the Masters logo, Stallings explained.

“Why am I having to send mine invitation to play in the Masters back to other Scott Stallings,” he said.

Stallings said the professional golfer invited him and his wife to Augusta during Masters week, a token of appreciation for fixing the error in the invitation. This includes dinner with all four Stallingses and tickets to watch the practice rounds before the tournament kicks off on Thursday. Stallings said he is thrilled to be going to Augusta National during Masters week, something that has eluded him for years.

“It’s just a dream come true,” he said.

Stallings is still hopeful of finding a way to watch the tournament – perhaps even at the weekend, when a champion will be decided. One thing is for sure: Stallings is rooting for his namesake, now more than ever.

The professional golfer, however, has not yet been invited. On Wednesday afternoon, the real estate developer checked the tracking information for the UPS package he had shipped the day before.

“This It’s on the way,” he said. The package is scheduled to arrive at the golfer’s Knoxville home on Thursday, he added.

So the realtor hedged a little in his ETA: “I think.”

The other Scott Stallings will be checking the mail.

Comments