How much are patrons willing to do for a Masters badge? - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

How much are patrons willing to do for a Masters badge?

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Augusta National Golf Club (WFXG) -

Neil Mergler waited most of his life to get a Masters badge.

"It took over 25 years of applying every year online for the Masters and I finally won the lottery this year," Mergler, said.

But for Jay Courey, getting a badge comes down to who you know.

"We knew Wayne Player, who set us up in a house for a couple of days and he had all our badges, we paid him a certain fee and he took care of us," said Courey.

Jim Thurmon spent thousands of dollars on badges, lodging and travel for his family. He says attending the Masters is a priceless trip of a lifetime.

Fox54's Mark Barber asked Tad Bunnell, "What does it mean to have a Masters badge to you?" Bunnell said, "Biggest thing is I get to check an item off my bucket list, this was high priority and I got it done this year."

"It means a lot, I still have my badges from last year, I'm going to display them proudly," said Charles Clark.  

Courey said, "It's been a dream of mine since I was young, very young, in my 20s. So it was absolutely awesome."

Many patrons Fox54 spoke with say the badges are worth every penny and every minute of travel.

This is the first year Joel Laberee has been to the Masters Tournament, he said, "It's just a special place, hole 12, there's just nothing else like it."

"Everything is done to the tee professionally, never seen another sporting event from the Super Bowl to the World Series have any weight compared to this," said Mergler.

Matt Mazikowski said watching the golfers and eating the food is why it was worth the trouble of getting a badge.

"Just a chance to see the main golfers that are performing this weekend and to eat the pimento cheese sandwiches that's what's important to me," he said.

"I'd spend the same amount of money to do it again next year," Thurmon, said.

The face value of the badges is about $50.

There are Masters badges for the first two days of the tournament selling on eBay for about $4,500.

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