A Masters ticket is one of the most highly valued in sports. Potential patrons are willing to pay a steep fee to get inside the gates of Augusta National – usually in the form of money.
For one Seattle man, however, it was a different price.
Russ Berkman won an online lottery for four tickets for the Wednesday practice round at Augusta National. Imagine his shock when he had returned home from a shopping trip on Saturday night to find his Swiss Mountain dog, Sierra, had devoured the four tickets.
“When I walked in the house, I noticed there was a few strings on my hard wood floors that appeared to be the strings on my Masters tickets,” Berkman said in an interview on radio station KJR.
Desperate to avoid canceling a trip and disappointing his friends, Berkman called his girlfriend, who was in Hawaii for triathlon. She suggested Berkman force the dog to vomit. He did by feeding Sierra some hydrogen peroxide – an approach he knew would be safe and work in about 10 minutes.
When Sierra threw up, she coughed up some of the remains of the four tickets, which Berkman collected by sifting through the vomit. He bagged the approximately 80 pieces representing 70 percent of the actual ticket paper, and then tried to connect them as best he could.
On Monday morning, Berkman contacted Augusta National from Myrtle Beach – where he had intended to play a few rounds as a precursor to the Masters.
“First, they said, 'Are you serious?!,'” Berkman explained.
After some explanation and a little empathy from an incredulous Masters ticket office, Berkman had four new tickets re-issued.