Ben Treadway is living proof that people do win those contests on the Internet.
Treadway, a former Milligan College golfer, overcame long odds and his own skepticism to claim the grand prize of the Mastercard Golf Sweepstakes.
The payoff was a VIP trip to Las Vegas for Treadway and his wife, Ellyn. Included was a round of golf with two-time PGA Tour winner Harris English.
"I was pumped," said Treadway, the 2012 East Tennessee Amateur champion. "I didn't think I would win. I had forgotten that I even entered."?Treadway, who spent some time as a graduate assistant for Fred Warren as East Tennessee State, shot even par while playing with English at TPC Summerlin.
"You could tell he wasn't really trying, but he still clipped me," Treadway said. "I kept it a good match. It wasn't like he was playing me, but I was playing him.
"It was fun. It was 65 when we teed off. By back nine, it was closer to 40 degrees and the wind felt like it was about 30 miles an hour."
TPC Summerlin is the home of Las Vegas' PGA Tour event and in 1996 was the site of Tiger Woods' first professional victory.
English was less than three weeks removed from his second PGA Tour win, the OHL Classic played in Mexico. He's second on the FedEx Cup points list for the the 2014 season, which has already had six events.
"He hits is extremely pure," Treadway said. "He hits a little fade, just picks a target and lets it go."
Treadway got to watch English shoot a TV commercial for Mastercard on the driving range. Hint for future viewing: English will be wearing a caddy outfit.
English, who played collegiately at Georgia, is no stranger to East Tennessee. While in high school at Baylor School in Chatanooga, he won the 2005 McDonald's Invitational at Ridgfields Country Club in Kingsport.
He also has an uncle who lives on Boone Lake and has visited the area a couple of times.
"He's very familiar with Johnson City," Treadway said. "We're the same age and from high school and junior golf, we knew a lot of the same guys."
In Vegas, the Treadways had front row seats to a David Copperfield show, a shopping spree and spa treatments. They stayed at the Wynn Hotel and ate like royalty.
"We had an absolute blast," Treadway said. "It was a dream trip."
It was a prize he almost didn't accept. Five months or so after he entered, Treadway received an email from Mastercard. Thinking it was some kind of spam, he deleted it. Another one came and he deleted that one as well.
"You get those emails... you get so many emails like that," he said. "Then people started contacting me personally and through email, saying I need to verify who I am and where I work, telling me I had won. I thought I better check it out. I'm glad I did."