Cancer patient's dream to attend Masters comes true

Raymond Finerty (right), who has a rare form of cancer, watches with his son Keith as Ernie Els and John Huh approach the 18th green during the final round of the Masters Tournament.



Raymond Finerty isn’t concerned with how many days he has left to complete his bucket list. He’s not even sure what else is on the list. But he knows he has scratched off the most important item: attending the Masters Tournament.

A quiet and unassuming Irish­man, Finerty, 59, was diagnosed with mesothelioma three years ago. The incurable, rare cancer was traced to work he did in an auto shop, where he was likely exposed to asbestos in brake linings.

In March, Finerty was surprised at his doorstep in Queens, N.Y., by the Dream Foun­dation, an organization that grants wishes to adults with terminal illnesses.

“I was over the moon, I guess you could say,” he said.

An Augusta National Golf Club member donated tickets for Finerty to attend Sunday’s final tournament round.

“It’s not the way I wanted to get here, but it’ll work,” he said with a thick Irish brogue and a tear in his eye.

“The very idea, to be standing here in Augusta, can it be any better than this? Likely not unless I get to play out there,” he said.

Finerty moved to Queens in 1984 and raised three children. His oldest son, Keith, attended the Masters on Sun­day with him.

Finerty has lost track of how many rounds of chemotherapy he has received. He asked his doctors not to tell him how many days, weeks or months he has left.

“The best way to live it is one day at a time.” Finerty said. “I just get on with life.”

Attending the Masters was a dream he delayed for years. Finerty began playing golf about 20 years ago and watches the
tournament on television each year.

On Sunday, Finerty placed his chairs on the 18th green, toured the Augusta National clubhouse and planned to visit Amen Corner and walk the back nine, if not the entire course.

Finerty walked at a slower pace so as not to exhaust himself or lose his breath, as he can easily do.

“I can’t describe it,” he said about Augusta National. “It’s way beyond what I expected.”