Paul Tesori was looking for the right time to get his wife a special present.
The veteran PGA Tour caddie who works for U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson had his eyes on a $10,000 wedding band for his bride of four months.
“I was going to wait until Webb won or did something great,” he said.
When Michelle Tesori attended the Masters Tournament for the first time in 2012, her husband decided to make it interesting: If she could find the lone palm tree on the Augusta National Golf Club course the ring would be hers.
“He said, ‘Nobody would find that tree without help. You have to promise not to Google it. If you find it, I’ll buy the ring,’” Michelle Tesori recalled.
The ring was Paul’s idea, she said, and when he made the challenge, Michelle thought a rare date night at Subway, his favorite restaurant, would be payoff enough.
On the Wednesday before last year’s Masters, Michelle was following Paul and Simpson, who was playing a practice round with Rickie Fowler and soon-to-be winner Bubba Watson.
Watson found out about the Tesori challenge when the group reached the fourth hole. Knowing Michelle was following the group, the fun-loving Watson pointed to the palm tree to the right of the green.
The challenge was over, but not the rest of the story.
Fowler, Watson and Simpson agreed to pay for the ring if one of them won the tournament. The lucky loser was Watson.
The Tesoris said they didn’t expect the 2012 Masters champion to buy the wedding band, nor did they want him to.
“It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Michelle said she told Watson.
Soon after the Masters, Paul ordered the wedding band. When the jewelry store, Beard’s in Jacksonville, Fla., heard the palm tree story, it discounted the Tacori diamond ring to $7,500.
“I didn’t bring it back up to Bubba,” Paul said. “About once every month he’d say, ‘The check’s coming, I’m telling you, the check’s coming.’ Then we were at the PGA Championship (in late August). We had missed the cut and Angie, Bubba’s wife, said, ‘Paul, come here,’ and she gave me a check for $7,500.
On Tuesday at Augusta National, Michelle relived the memory of that day at the fourth hole.
“It gives me chills,” she said when she saw the palm tree.
“Truthfully, the great story here is that Bubba won the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world, and with all the amazing things going on in Bubba and Angie’s lives, becoming parents for the first time with the adoption of beautiful Caleb, the media requirements and the instant fame, Bubba remembered a little bet he’d made with a group of friends on Wednesday during the practice round.”
Michelle said she would still have been happy if the bet had been for a date night with her husband.
“Little did Bubba know, it could have just cost him Subway and a baby sitter, about $50,” she said. “It still would have been a great story.”