It is an envelope that every golfer dreams of receiving.
Imagine then the excitement for James Sugrue when a letter arrived a week prior to Christmas last year that was postmarked ‘Augusta, GA’?
Whether you’re Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott or a young amateur from Co. Cork, a formal invitation to attend The Masters remains unique in a world too consumed with the digital age.
Sugrue, as the reigning Amateur champion, wasted little time getting onto Twitter to show the world his own invitation to attend the 2020 Masters.
That was 97 days ago (as at March 23rd) with the Mallow golfer excited to make his way down Magnolia Lane to not only find the ‘Crow’s Nest’ atop the stately Augusta National clubhouse but dream of the possibility of finding himself grouped with defending champion Woods for the opening.
“Most golfers have grown up watching the Masters from a very young age, some people I know even take the week off just to watch it,” said Sugrue in an article on EchoLive.ie
“It’s a great sporting event even for people who don’t play golf. It’s the biggest event of the year for the pro’s so it’s definitely my biggest event this year.”
Had it not been for the Coronavirus pandemic, the Masters would be just 17 days away but fears of contracting the virus has placed even the most simple of outdoor activities as fetching a newspaper or a carton of milk on hold.
Augusta has put the Masters on hold with strong suggestions, and hopefully when the pandemic has eased, that it will be staged from 8th to 11th October.
That’s 200 days away but one thing we know for certain is that Augusta National does not intend on cancelling any invitation to the 2020 Masters no matter when it is held.
Sugrue was looking forward not only to the Masters but heading off to the States this week for the annual Georgia Cup that was scheduled for Sunday March 29th but like the Masters, it has also been postponed.
The Georgia Cup was first played in 1998 when then reigning US Amateur champion, Matt Kuchar defeated Amateur champ, Craig Watson of Scotland.
Other winners include Sergio Garcia (1999) along with a number of Irish-born including Michael Hoey (2002), Brian McElhinney (2006) and Alan Dunbar (2013).
Sugrue was set to square off against US Amateur champ Andy Ogletree over 18 holes of the Georgia Country Club in suburban Atlanta.
Now, and not akin to all amateur, professional and weekend golfers, all Sugrue can do is just wait out the pandemic.
“I suppose that was a big relief to know it was just postponed and not cancelled,” Sugrue said.
“Obviously, if it was cancelled it would have been very unlucky for myself. I’m just delighted that it was postponed and hopefully it’ll be up and running again sooner rather than later.”
Sugrue not only has invitations to the Georgia Cup and the Masters but he’s been invited to contest the PGA Tour’s Memorial (June 4th to 7th) plus the US Open to be held a fortnight later at Winged Foot on New York’s Long Island (June 18th to 21st).
“Everything was booked, the flights and accommodation, including a lot of arrangements for my friends and family,” added Sugrue
“Naturally, I think postponement is the correct decision. If it had been played behind closed doors, my family and friends would have missed out.
“I have Memorial at the start of June and that’s followed by the US Open.
“They have mentioned May and playing then would be nice. I’d like it to be in the next month or so.
“I know it doesn’t mean much to the organisers but that would definitely suit me!”
Sugrue has also talked of turning pro after his US Open showing but that decision may also be on hold.