PHOTO: Scott Stallings, the professional golfer, at a tournament in Naples, Fla., last month.Credit…Chris Tilley/Associated Press
Scott Stallings of Georgia was surprised to receive a formal invitation from Augusta National Golf Club. It was meant for a pro golfer with the same name.
It is the stuff golfers’ dreams are made of: a formal invitation from Augusta National Golf Club to compete in the Masters Tournament, considered the most prestigious event on the golf calendar.
When Scott Stallings, a real estate agent from Georgia, and his wife, Jenny, opened the door to their house on St. Simons Island on New Year’s Eve, they found that just such an invitation had arrived via UPS.
The envelope, in a brilliant shade of green instantly recognizable to golfers as Masters Green, was emblazoned with the gold logo of the Augusta National Golf Club. And it was addressed to Mr. Stallings.
Inside was another envelope bearing his name — Mr. Scott Stallings — in calligraphy and an invitation from the club’s board of governors, signed by Fred S. Ridley, the chairman of Augusta National, cordially welcoming him to participate in the Masters Tournament in April.
“You just got invited to the Masters,” Jenny Stallings told her husband as he unpacked the car. Both are “very casual golfers,” they said; they enjoy a round or two but are not quite up to the level needed to compete alongside the likes of Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler.
But for a split second, Ms. Stallings said, her husband thought his moment had arrived.
“I was like ‘OK, well, I have this invitation,’” Mr. Stallings, 60, said. “It had my name on it. What are the chances?”
Then he realized the invitation was supposed to have been sent to that other Scott Stallings, a professional golfer and three-time PGA Tour winner who is ranked 54th in the world.
“Right away, I know this isn’t me,” said Mr. Stallings, the real estate agent, who likes to watch Mr. Stallings, the golfer, compete. “How in the heck did it show up here?”
The couple placed the invitation on their dining room table and decided to contact Mr. Stallings, the golfer.
Mr. Stallings, the real estate agent, found the golfer on Instagram and sent him a direct message saying he had received his invitation to the Masters at his house in Georgia and was “sure this is NOT for me.”
“I play but wow!” Mr. Stallings wrote, adding: “I think we have some confusion because of our names, our wife’s names and geographical location.”
Mr. Stallings, the golfer, who lives in Tennessee and whose wife is also named Jennifer, responded with a laughing-with-tears-of-joy emoji, indicating he thought it might be a prank.
So Mr. Stallings, the real estate agent, followed up with photos of the invitation. “I’m really not kidding I promise,” he wrote in another direct message.
Mr. Stallings, the golfer, later shared the direct message from Mr. Stallings, the real estate agent, on Instagram.
“Literally had been checking the mailbox five times a day and then I got this random DM yesterday,” the golfer wrote. “My Masters invite got sent to a different Scott Stallings.”
Augusta National did not immediately respond on Tuesday to emails and calls seeking comment about how the invitation was sent to the wrong Scott Stallings. The club has asked players to R.S.V.P. to the invitations since the Masters began in 1934.
On Monday, the two Scott Stallingses and their wives spoke on the phone and made arrangements to get the invitation to the right Scott Stallings.
The golfer said in an interview on Tuesday that he had invited Mr. Stallings, the real estate agent, to dinner and a practice round at the Masters to thank him for agreeing to send the invitation.
“It was just nice to see someone doing the right thing,” the golfer said, adding: “I was just relieved that it physically existed.”
Ms. Stallings recorded a video of her husband, the real estate agent, parting ways with it at a UPS store.
“OK, Scott,” she said. “Why are we at the UPS store?”
“Because I’m having to send my invitation to play at the Masters back to the other Scott Stallings,” he said, holding the invitation and frowning.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said.
“I tried,” he said. “That’s OK.”
And then it was gone, on its way to that other Scott Stallings, the one who really will get to compete in the Masters.
“It was like getting Willy Wonka’s golden ticket,” Scott Stallings, the real estate agent, said on Tuesday. “It was a hard one to let go of because I know how prestigious it is.”
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