It was 1994 when Audrey and I moved to Atlanta. We had each “served” 10 years or more in Chicago with the good and the bad. The good being lifelong friends who we still laugh with, the bad being 5:00 wake-up calls to move the car before the snow plow buried you for several days.
Upon arrival to the heart of the new south I started working with a new group of neat people, many of whom I am still connected. Ed Butler, who for the last 8 years has been my business partner, was my boss and Freddy Warren, then my co-worker, now a bitch of a competitor at Links Magazine.
But the guy who made my week this week was Steve Howard…let me explain. First though a quick story.
When “SH” and I were first getting to know each other he asked me if I had ever been to a “bigtime” college football game. He’s a Georgia Bulldog and as all southerners know college football in the south is King, Queen, Prince and Princess. Wanting to sound at least somewhat traveled I replied that I’d been to USC-Notre Dame, Michigan-Ohio State and was there the day Northwestern clinched their first Rose Bowl since ’49.
“No” he replied, “I’m talking about BIGTIME college football”…’nuff said.
On to our topic…about 1997 or so the practice rounds at The Masters had gotten out of hand. The usual routine of selling tickets the day of had become as antiquated as the mashie-niblick. For whatever reason (Tiger) the world had awakened to the fact that one could lay down 10 bucks and stroll the fairways of Jones, Hogan, Palmer, and The Bear.
So what they did was pure Green Jacket. They created a lottery for practice round tickets. We all filled out the form, anxiously awaiting word…Steve was the only winner.
Fast forward a couple years and I’m sitting in my office minding my own business. Steve intercoms me and tells me to come down to his office right away, something was afoot.
He had just received a letter from Augusta National. They explained in “The Letter” that they had cut off the waiting list when The Rockford Files was the number one show on TV and needed to replenish. Steve, the letter continued, could expect to be the owner of Masters badges within a few years.
This obviously shocked us as we read the letter for the fifth time and sure enough the next year Steve was a badge holder to the most prestigiuous sporting event in the world…not the state, not the country, but the world.
So this year I called him back in March and told him of my lament that my kids and great wife had never seen The Masters.
His response was swift and typical of him. The badges were mine to take the family. Wow what a conversation.
Next post…the day itself.