I was walking along the fairway on the first hole Saturday and ran into a man I've known and respected for decades. He is connected, the man is, and he said he was going to play Augusta National Golf Club Monday. He said it as matter of factly as we would talk about going to the driving range.
I asked him what playing the course was like. And he asked, "Do you want to play?"
Now, I have not played golf in 25 years. I used to play, however. And then came the worst shot of my life.
A buddy and I were going to play one Monday morning on a course outside Charlotte. We work together, and a third guy, who was not very popular and you'll see why, asked if he could join us. We said, um, sure.
But it rained the day we were supposed to play and my friend and I decided to cancel. So I called the third guy. And third guy said, come on, don't cancel, I never get to play, the rain isn't bad, we'll have fun, please.
So we reluctantly agreed to meet him at the golf course.
He failed to show up.
I hit the ball off the first tee as hard as I could and knocked the ball into a field across the street. I played the ball from there, and finished the hole with a 14. I could never get my game back, and after a few more failed rounds I gave my clubs away.
Augusta National would be a fine place to make a comeback. It would be a column, certainly. But this golf course means too much to too many people, and I'd feel as if I was making a mockery of the course, and of them.
So I reluctantly declined.