As a youngster growing up, I always looked forward to the family Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner was always excellent, but what I liked most was enjoying the leftovers for days after. Recently, I’ve been experiencing the same pleasurable enjoyment after Tiger was fitted with his fifth Green Jacket.
There’s so much time between the previous major championship and The Masters that its arrival is always awaited with eager anticipation, and this year was no different. There were a few big questions that might get answered. One, could Rory McIlroy complete his Career Grand Slam with a victory and two, what would Tiger do? We all know the answers now, but on my trip home from Augusta, I kept wondering if it really did happen or was it a dream?
When I took a step back to process everything Tiger went through, his victory seems inconceivable. But even with all the surgeries and, in my opinion, the more damaging self-imposed transgressions, it became easy to understand that winning at Augusta again was a dream realized for Tiger.
Biloxi, MS, marks the halfway point on my trip home and oddly enough, it just happens to be home to one of my favorite casinos, the Beau Rivage. Well, if truth be told, any casino I win at automatically becomes my favorite, but little did I know that my real victory at the Beau would come in the form of a new acquaintance.
This story unfolds at one of my favorite places, the blackjack table. The dealer was a real golf nut, but despite our golf connection, 22 in my hand is still bust. However, I noticed a gentleman at the table dressed in golf attire. Of course, I just had to ask him if he played, and he said sometimes, but that his son was the real golfer in the family. My newfound friend explained that he was from Taiwan and his wife was from Cambodia. I was quite taken aback when his wife and son came to the table to watch him play. As it turned out, my partner, Janis, and I were about to hear an amazing story. As the saying goes, “Only in America.”
Their 22-year-old son Ramsey evidently has a ton of talent. So good, in fact, that he won the Connecticut High School State Championship three years in a row and, understandably, his dream is to become a professional golfer, playing at the highest level. Of course, being in the golf business as we are, we’ve heard these stories often; it is the same dream shared by many worldwide. But Ramsey’s dream may well be a little different.
Ramsey’s parents only want what’s best for him, and he works hard at the game. His parents’ desire to give their son a chance to fulfill his dream was so strong that they sold their home and the father took a one-year leave of absence from his job. They rented a small apartment in West Palm Beach, and proceeded to provide Ramsey with the opportunity to realize his dream.
For the next year, the family will drive from tournament to tournament, from Web.com pre-qualifier to Web.com pre-qualifier, and anywhere else Ramsey can play to gain experience and climb the ladder to gain the needed ranking status. Dad is the caddie and driver. Mom is the nutritionist and on-the-road homemaker.
This week, the Web.com pre-qualifying event is in the San Antonio area. For those players with no tour history or ranking points, the entry fee is a rather steep $450, but if Ramsey makes it through that, then he would get to play in the actual Web.com qualifier. If he makes it through that, then he would play in the event itself, the Web.com Dormie Network Classic. Then, he would have to make the 36-hole cut and if all that happens, then he would cash a check.
I am sure Ramsey will draw inspiration from 27-year-old CT Pan from Taiwan who just won for the first time at the RBC Heritage.
Tiger and CT Pan both had dreams realized. Ramsey and I are still chasing our dreams . . . Ramsey looking for a breakthrough on the golf course and I’m just looking to master blackjack.