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How the Masters Blew It For A Former Winner

how the masters blew it
Even those who don’t golf have heard of the Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in the sport held each April in Augusta, Georgia. Its history is rich and it has a well-earned reputation for excellence when it comes to how staff members interact with patrons and one another. My friend and colleague Ernie Bravo attended this year’s event and wrote me that the experience reminded him of what I discuss in my book (thank you for the kind words, Ernie!).  

However, this isn’t about all the great things they do that make being there so special. As reported by pro golfer Jason Kokrak, former champion Sandy Lyle was on the final 18th hole with only a 12-foot putt remaining.  Hundreds of patrons were there to salute him at the end of his final-ever Masters round. That’s a very special moment in the making. You can imagine the excitement in the air. 

But the officials decided to postpone play due to a fallen tree nearby. Rather than understanding the moment and granting an exemption, officials tightly followed the rules. All this despite fan chants of “Let him putt! Let him putt!” Missed opportunity #1.

Play was set to resume early Saturday morning, with fans scheduled to be let in at 7 am and Sandy Lyle’s final strokes at 8. This would allow fans to get into place and give him a proper sendoff. 

But no! For some inexplicable reason, fans were not allowed in until 8 am. By the time most patrons reached the 18th hole, it was too late. Only a handful of people got to witness the moment. Missed opportunity #2. 

This story struck me because sometimes we focus so hard on the big moment (i.e. “the winner”) that we lose track of those smaller moments that are part of what makes an experience special. Mistakes get made, which is why service recovery is so important and needed by medical practices just as much as hospitality and entertainment.  

It’s too late for this year’s Masters to recover from that blunder. Don’t let the same thing happen to you and your practice! There are times when you simply need to meet the moment and make an exception to whatever rule or policy is in place.

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