ATLANTA — In this age of sophisticated smartphones and caller ID, it's fair to wonder if Amanda Doherty – like most perpetually stimulated college-aged students of her ilk – had given pause to answering the phone, given the unfamiliar number.
After all, who could she possibly know from the Augusta, Georgia area code?
Doherty took the call anyway.
What happened next would become a life-changing moment.
"I got a phone call. It was from Augusta," Doherty told 11Alive Sports' Wes Blankenship earlier in the week. "I guess a few people had decided not to play ... and that I could play. Of course I was going to play. You can't turn that down."
That event would be the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship, the first-ever women's tournament on the same hallowed grounds of The Masters – perhaps the most storied golf event in the world.
At the very least, it's the most picturesque championship in professional golf.
Graced by the pristine, yet formidable Amen Corner and every hole bearing the name of a luminous tree or shrub on the grounds (Pink Dogwood, Flowering Peach, Yellow Jasmine, Carolina Cherry, White Dogwood, Chinese Fir, Redbud, etc.), Augusta National remains an unspoiled, visually stunning treasure – especially at the height of spring renewal (full bloom).
Doherty will get her chance at Augusta National glory in early April. For the ANWAC competition, 72 women golfers will undertake the first two rounds at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta.
After that, the 30 lowest scores (including ties) will play the final round at Augusta National ... perusing the same course that made household names of legends Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods.
"Obviously, I want to make the cut (after 36 holes)," says Doherty, a graduate of The Galloway School in Atlanta. "But I don't want to do much thinking about how amazing it would be."
Making the final stage at Augusta National will be some challenge. There was essentially room for only the top 30 amateur Americans, allowing for invitations to other world-renowned amateurs.
"At the time, I was (ranked 33rd), and a couple of people decided not to play," recalls Doherty.
Who would turn down a chance at Augusta National?
It's a daunting notion, for sure. On the plus side, Doherty – an Honorable Mention All-American in 2018 (fall stroke average per round: 72) – won't have time for pitying those who declined the invite.
Right now, it's all about making the most of a lifetime opportunity.
And if the golf gods have a say in the matter ... it could represent Doherty's chance to make history, in terms of becoming Augusta National's first-ever women's champion.
"I think this is huge for women's golf," says Doherty, while celebrating how women first gained membership into Augusta National seven years ago. "This is a chance to put women's amateur golf on the map."