HUMBLE, Texas – Cancelling travel plans at the last minute is never fun – except perhaps when you’re ditching them for a trip to Augusta National.
That’s the enviable plight faced by Jim Herman, whose surprise win at the Shell Houston Open earned him the final spot in next week’s Masters. Herman had planned to fly home to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday night following the final round, but those plans went out the window shortly after he closed out his first career victory.
“I’ve got an 8:42 flight that lands at midnight,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to make that.”
Instead, Herman will head straight to Augusta National, where in four days he’ll make his first career start at the Masters. It’s not a destination the 38-year-old ever truly expected to reach, but at least he’s not going into the season’s first major totally blind.
As it turns out, Herman got in a round at Augusta National in late November, playing alongside a friend who happens to be an ANGC member.
“That’s what we said, that this is a practice round. Don’t think it’s your one-and-done,” Herman said. “I bogeyed 18 to shoot 1 under.”
Herman recalls visiting Augusta National as a fan during the 2008 Masters. When as a member of the then-Nationwide Tour, he was afforded free access to the tournament.
“It’s a special place, for sure,” he said. “I went on Saturday and watched, and it’s pretty cool, it’s a pretty cool spot. It’s going to be unreal to be on the inside of the ropes now.”
Herman said he’ll leave the travel planning to his two agents as he gets set to make a trip that 111 other players in this week’s field, also not already in the Masters, had hoped to make. His win came just in the nick of time to earn Herman a trip down Magnolia Lane – although he wouldn’t mind lifting a trophy at a different time of year, either.
“Nice to get this last ticket to Augusta, but it’s got to be nice to win after Augusta so you can go there and practice all year,” he said. “Packing up and heading right to Augusta, it’s going to be a whirlwind the next four days.”