If you’ve never been inside the Masters merchandise tent during the height of tournament week, imagine a pride of lions in a butcher’s shop, and you start to get the idea. To learn more about the spending habits of Masters fans, we surveyed dozens of them at last year’s tourney. We found scant evidence of an impending recession.
Number of customers surveyed: 53
Total amount spent: $22,077
Average per customer: $417
Most expensive item purchased: Golf ball used and signed by Tiger Woods ($950)
Least expensive item: Ball marker ($6)
Most enthusiastic shopper: Dato Siew Ka Wei, who on a visit from Malaysia dropped $4,000. “It’s a hell of a lot,” he said, “but this is the premier event in the world.”
Least enthusiastic shopper: Rick Townsend of Jacksonville, Fla., who bought only the $12 badge holder around his neck.
Shopper with the best Masters story: Bonnie Mize of Augusta, wife of 1987 Masters champ Larry. Bonnie spent $40 on lapel pins and a turquoise T-shirt for a friend.
Shopper most likely to disappoint his family: Gary Jones of Greenville, S.C. Jones had big plans to shower his five brothers with Masters gear but coughed up just $38 on three towels.
Most awed shopper: Cedric McCord of Augusta, who was at his first Masters and said of the merchandise pavilion: “It’s like Disneyland! There are so many people.”
Most analytical shopper: Tony Zarcone of Winter Springs, Fla. He spent $525, or “about $50 every 10 minutes I was in there.”
Least analytical shopper: Bob Amato of New Rochelle, N.Y., who spent $120. Asked what his most expensive item was, he said: “Beats me. I’ve been to too many tournaments to get excited about the prices.”
Most loyal shopper: Neil Welsch of Greenville, S.C., who dropped $946. “I come every year and I spend a lot,” he said. “It’s kind of my attire for the whole year.”
Most disgruntled shopper: Marie Nicholas of Jackson, Miss., who scoffed at the $35 price tag on a T-shirt. “Ridiculous,” she said.
Shopper we’d most like to party with: Nancy Powers of Greenwood, Miss., who spent $40 on a cooler and a Masters tumbler.
Shopper most likely to recruit future Masters fans: Claire Liedtke of Midland, Texas. She spent $38 on two “onesies” and a hot-pink infant T-shirt.
Most selfless shopper: Troy Hilbert of Jacksonville, Fla., who invested $98 on visors and caps for his three kids and wife. “For myself?” he said. “A ball marker.”
Most burdened shopper: Chris Arington of Cincinnati, Ohio, who spent $900 to fill some 10 orders from family and colleagues.
Most practical shopper: Arington again. To tote all her loot home, she dropped $100 on one last item: Masters luggage.