First-time competitors aren’t supposed to have success at The Masters.
Especially if you’re a first-time competitor and also happen to be an amateur.
But nobody seems to have told that to Texas A&M star Sam Bennett.
Bennett is a fifth-year senior with the Aggies and qualified for the Master by winning the 2022 U.S. Amateur. He’s taking full advantage of that spot, as well. Bennett shot a 4-under, 68 in the opening round on Thursday to land himself in a tie for seventh place heading into day two.
The story of his strong play is remarkable in its own right. But it’s only the second-most remarkable story surrounding Bennett at the moment.
Instead, all fans are talking about is the tattoo etched on his left forearm. The art work is simple. In what looks like chicken scratch, it reads “Don’t wait to do something” – Pops 6/12/2020
This story by @RyanLavnerGC on Sam Bennett is absolutely beautiful. One of the best tattoos I've ever seen. Made me an instant fan. https://t.co/jwOmXYguse
— Kyle Koster (@KyleKoster) April 6, 2023
On it’s face, it seems like a simple message from a family member. But as it turns out, the words have much, much more meaning for Bennett.
He told Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner all about that meaning in a feature story prior to the start of The Masters.
As it turns out, the tattoos shares the last words written by Bennett’s father, Mark, before he passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s in 2021.
“I was just mad, seeing my perfectly healthy dad get diagnosed with a deadly disease,” Bennett told Lavner. “I was just like ‘why him? Why not someone else?'”
Bennett then talked about calling coaches at 5 a.m. and going on late-night walks because he couldn’t sleep while dealing with the stress of his father’s declining health.
Ultimately, Bennett’s father passed away in June of 2021 after an eight-year battle with the disease. But prior to passing, Mark offered one last message to his son.
“He just came up and said ‘don’t want to do something,'” Sam Bennett said.
Sam then asked his father to write the message down, which he says took his father 15 minutes as he relearned how to write out every letter.
It was the last thing he wrote.
Bennett then took the message to a tattoo parlor and had it inscribed on his forearm.
Now, it serves as a motivational message for Bennett, 23, as he chases his dreams on golf’s biggest stage.