D.C. United’s victory at Colorado last Saturday was just the beginning of a whirlwind weekend for Wayne Rooney and two teammates.
With tickets to the final round of the Masters, courtesy of Rooney’s buddy Rory McIlroy, the trio endured flight delays, a sleepless night and a 2½-hour drive before arriving at Augusta National for the final few holes and Tiger Woods’s stunningvictory.
“For the three of us to go through the ups and downs of those 24 hours,” goalkeeper Chris Seitz said, “was insane.”
Following the match, Rooney, Seitz and defender Steve Birnbaum were scheduled to fly at 1 a.m. to Charlotte, then connect to Augusta, Ga. A delay out of Denver meant missing their connection. Compounding their problems, weather concerns in Georgia prompted an early start to the final round, with the leaders going off in a threesome at 9:20 a.m.
“It was wild,” Birnbaum said. “There was a point we didn’t know if we were going to make it and we’d have to hop on the flight back to D.C. with the team.”
In Rooney’s hotel room, they weighed their options before taking a 5 a.m. flight to Charlotte and hiring a driver to take them to Augusta.
“The drive seemed like it was forever,” Rooney said.
They arrived at the course in time to see the last four or five holes.
Rooney said he had attended the British Open but never the Masters. Rooney and Birnbaum golf together regularly. After flying home Monday, they played Congressional Country Club on Tuesday, which was another off-day for United.
Seitz said he watches more than he plays. He did not join his teammates Tuesday because “with a pregnant wife and four kids, she said, ‘No, you’ve got to get home.’ ”
Who is the best golfer among the trio? “Oof. I don’t want to say me, but . . . ” Birnbaum said, laughing. “Wayne and I are pretty close, score-wise.”
At the Masters, Rooney said he was recognized by some spectators, mainly visitors from Britain.
“Just the way it was happening with Tiger, everyone was running around just to get in position to see him,” Rooney said. “I was in the middle trying to get somewhere.”
As for the experience, Rooney said, “It was a long day, but it was worth it to see Tiger win.”
Said Seitz: “Getting the three points on the road made it a lot better, because if we are going through all that after a draw or a loss, it would’ve been harder. Definitely great memories. It was a bucket list for all three of us.”
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