Mayor's Masters reception cancelled

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) --The Mayor's Masters reception has been kicking off Masters Week for 15 years, but this year they just couldn't swing it.

This annual tradition that fills the Augusta Common has been canceled.

"We just had to pull the plug," Wayne Hawkins. "It's disappointing. There's no doubt about it, it's disappointing."

"It's a bit of a surprise since its been a staple in the area for so long," said Cliff Bennett.

Wayne Hawkins has been organizing this event for 15 years now, and they always have a signature honoree. Thirty seven of the 65 green jacket winners have been honored over the years.

This year they had one golfer in mind, but wouldn't say who,and a scheduling conflict forced the cancellation.

"This was something he really wanted to do. It's just his sponsor said no you have another commitment on Monday night," Hawkins said.

With the reception set to take place in a little over a month and no honoree Hawkins and the committee decided to cancel. He said there was no way to make the event live up to expectations.

"Really invite someone at the last minute and not put on a first class event. So we decided we'd just wait until next year and make it bigger and better next year," Hawkins said.

Once fans leave the event it creates foot traffic and business for downtown. Especially for the Cotton Patch which is right across from the Augusta Common.

"A lot of people come down here to get away from Washington Road to relax a little bit," Bennett said.

"To not have that staple hit downtown now you've got a number of businesses that won't benefit as they have many many years over," said Bennett.

Cliff Bennet works trivia at the Cotton Patch and says Monday night of Masters Week will definitely be affected.

"The lack of people turning out in droves for the mayors masters reception that will be affected," Bennett said.

This has some wondering why not still have the event to kick off the week even without a golfer. Hawkins said the council tried that in 2003 and they received a lot of grief afterward.

"That's why in 2004 we started honoring one person per year and it's been like that ever since," Hawkins said.

One commissioner still isn't giving up on this event. Mary Davis says she wants them to still consider putting it on as the city's way of kicking off Masters Week.

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