مشاركات عشوائية

The Curious Case of Two Scott Stallings and a Master's Invitation

featured image

Think for a moment of the young woman who works at The UPS Store counter in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Dressed in a blue UPS Store quarter-zip shirt and nose ring, she showed up at one o’clock on Tuesday morning and went about her day. Maybe have a coffee. Or one of those healthy smoothies. Another change.

That is, until two people, Scott and Jenny Stallings, approach the counter with an envelope in one hand and fatal tension in the other. Scott squeezed the package tight. Jenny’s stomach was in knots. She looked at the young woman cautiously.

The UPS employee, a little annoyed, stared at them.

“There’s a backstory,” Scott told her, “but I can’t tell you about it.”

Unbeknownst to anyone in the store, including the quarter zip, the envelope slid across the counter had made a trip long before it reached the store.

It also amounted to a 6×8 moral dilemma that would leave any golfer feeling weak.

It all started on New Year’s Eve. The Stallings, a married real estate duo from Atlanta, decided to drive to their condo in St. Louis. Simons, a private barrier island off the Georgian coast. Typically, the couple rents the condo to vacationers, but it wasn’t booked for the vacation weekend, so they decided to take advantage of it. In another life someone had booked the place on Airbnb, who knows where this story would have gone.

Upon arrival, Jenny went to the door while Scott unpacked the car. There was an unexpected UPS envelope addressed to Scott. “What is this?” she screamed. Scott had no idea. Confused, Jenny pulled out the tab and pulled out another envelope. A Russian doll, of sorts, but this second envelope was noticeably different.

It was green. A very familiar shade of green. Accompanied by a golden embossing.

Jenny looked at him.


Looked again.

Like everyone else, Scott and Jenny enter the Masters Ticket Lottery every year. And every year they are ignored. Holding that envelope, however, Jenny thought the golf gods had finally smiled on the Atlanta Stallings. Finally, their names were removed. Master tickets.

But that didn’t make any sense. Why would Augusta National send the tickets to their vacation home? So Jenny looked closer. Even closer. And.

Ho-ly sh-…

I realized it was an invitation to playernot attend,” Jenny says now.

Scott Stallings of Atlanta first became aware of Scott Stallings, the professional golfer, about a decade ago. Non-professional Scott loves the game, but, like all of us, doesn’t get out enough. Houses don’t sell, so golf remains a distant hobby. But Scott Stallings regularly checks PGA Tour rankings on Sunday to see how Scott Stallings is doing. Every once in a while he takes a picture of the TV screen and posts it on Facebook.

It’s unclear if any of the other 74 Scott Stallings on Facebook do the same. Like Scott Stallings who works at Walmart in Ada, Okla. Or the guy who’s a technician for Raytheon Technologies in Danville, Ala. Or those in Dunn, NC, Custer, Ky., or Redlands, CA.

The one in Atlanta, though? He’s a fan.

Scott Stallings is a three-time PGA Tour winner. A longtime companion, he’s been riding a revival lately. The 37-year-old has reshaped his career by transforming himself physically. The results came in waves, catapulting him out of the world top 200 on Memorial Day 2022 at No. 1.54 to start 2023. He finished second in the BMW Championship last season to clinch a Tour championship spot for the first times of his career. The real plus? A place in the Masters 2023.

Seven top-10 finishes in 2022 put Scott Stallings near the top 50 in the world. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Stallings has already participated in the Masters twice, but not since 2014. In total, in his career, he played only 12 major tournaments. This upcoming trip to Augusta, which follows a breakout 2022 season, equates to a fitting reward for a guy going through tough times.

The only problem was that, as of last week, Stallings had yet to receive his invite from Augusta National. He checked the mailbox daily. Dec. On August 20, Augusta released a statement regarding qualification criteria and the ability of LIV Golf players to be part of the tournament field. The club has announced the full list of participants for 2023 and with that the players have started posting photos of their official invites on social media.

Stallings still didn’t have his. He went to the Masters website to verify his name.

Stallings began to think that his wife (yes, also named Jenny), had intercepted the invitation and was planning to put it under the tree on Christmas morning. But then Christmas came and went. No master invitation. Stallings was getting nervous.

“Once we were done with the gifts, I stopped and asked him, ‘So wait, for real, don’t you? ‘” Stallings said this week by phone from Hawaii where he is competing in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Jenny told her husband, “I don’t have it a thousand percent. I swear.”

At St. Simons, Scott realized that he, personally, was in fact not being invited to play in the Masters. He didn’t understand how the mistake had been made by Augusta, but wanted to clear it up. With that, a very strange direct message was sent to the “real” Scott Stallings on Instagram. Scott explained that he had received an invitation to play in the Masters.

At this point, Stallings was baffled and dreaded the prospect of having to contact the starched shirts at Augusta National. Really, what do you say? “Um, am I allowed to play?” That’s when a friend reminded him to check out these channeled social media messages from users he doesn’t follow.

There was Scott’s DM.

Clearly confused and suspicious, Stallings responded with LOLing.

So Scott sent pictures. The ANGC envelope and invitation. Scott included his phone number and told Stallings to call him.

It was not, in fact, a scam or a joke. “Totally surreal,” Stallings says now.

Stallings called late at night, but was sent straight to voicemail. He left a message, then decided to share this whole very random coincidence on Instagram.

Scott wakes up in St. Simons the next morning to a deluge of notifications on his phone.

“We thought something was wrong because our phones were bouncing off the bedside table,” says Jenny.

Eventually both parties connected and everything was understood.

In 2014, the last time Stallings played the Masters, he ran a St. Louis-based management company. Simons. The company’s old address is exactly one block from Scott and Jenny’s vacation apartment. Turns out that’s where Augusta National sent Stallings’ invitation for 2023. UPS, however, having only one operational address for a “Scott Stallings” in St. Simons, sent him redirected to Scott’s condo address.

This is how a 60-year-old player with no professional golf experience found himself invited to participate in the Masters.

And so it was that a young woman working at UPS ended up with an envelope addressed to both Scott Stallings and Scott Stallings.

Ultimately, we’ll never know what would have happened if Scott had decided to drive to Augusta in April, turn on his turn signal, and walk down Magnolia Lane asking where to go for baggage drop-off. This would have made security personnel very confused.

But if your name is Scott Stallings and your invitation to play says Scott Stallings…

Instead, Scott will have to settle for a one in a million opportunity, instead of a one in a billion. Stallings gives his name-elgänger to the Monday and Tuesday practice rounds at this year’s Masters and takes them to dinner at Augusta.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t win the lottery.

As for inviting Scott Stallings?

Well, it’s in the mail.

Scott Stallings prepared to send the official Masters invitation to Scott Stallings. (Photo courtesy of Scott and Jenny Stallings)

(Illustration: Sean Reilly/The Athletic. Photos: Carmen Mandato, Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Post a Comment