Donna and I don’t golf. We really don’t even like the sport. The only thing we do like about it, is one day we might live on a golf course (just so we have someone else take care of our backyard.) We don’t follow golf except for one little tournament, for four days during the first week in April the TV is tuned to coverage of the Masters.
We moved to Aiken in May of 1989 and in the spring of the following year we attended a Masters’ practice round. In those days practice round tickets were unlimited, you walked up to the gate on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and $5 got you in. This went on for 2 or 3 years and in an attempt to mellow out the rowdy Par 3 crowd and reduce the traffic surrounding the course the Masters organization decided to limit the attendance each day to some super-secret number. The use a lottery system to dole out the tickets, Donna and I got tickets for the next two years and have been shut-out ever since.
In one of those first visits I bought a really nice ball cap. A perfectly shaped brushed twill that had a dark green body and a navy bill with the word Masters in script embroidered in white on it. I wore that thing out. Well figuratively at least. Every year I hope anxiously that we will get an invite to the ball, so I can get a new hat and every year the wicked step mom denies us.
There is a little gift shop by the main gate that you can buy official merchandise at, but there is a very limited selection of stuff to choose from. I’ve been holding out on getting an exact replacement, so I left that option off the table, until now. This morning I could stand it no longer. Donna and I drove over to Augusta, parked about a mile from the National in a Kroger parking lot and walked over to buy me a hat.
The selection was so small I almost didn’t want to buy any of the available hats. But, we came all this way, so I grabbed a black ball cap with a small Masters’ logo in yellow and a tiny little green embroidered “Masters.” It won’t become the hat that sits on my head every time I leave the house, but it will make it into heavy rotation.