Masters badge hopefuls wheel and deal on Washington Road

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March 31, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---They're out again, from Washington Road all the way to Wheeler, and they're all after one thing: those coveted Masters badges.

People from all over the world were out today, looking to buy and sell.

For some it's a tradition. For others, strictly business. But no matter which side you're on, if you want to make a deal, Washington Road is the place to go.

"There's nothing bigger than the Masters," one dealer said. "Nothing."

It's played here in Augusta's backyard every year. And every year on Washington Road, you'll find the back door for the Tournament.

"It's like a carnival like atmosphere," said Austrlian golf pro Darren Carroll. "It's good fun."

As people from all over the world line the street hoping to make a deal, there to help is ticket broker Jimmy D.

"Masters is always a great event," he said. "It's bigger that the pope coming. This would sell more tickets than if the pope came to Augusta."

He says he's hopeful that 2007 will be a good year for business.

"It's looking okay," he said. "People are going to start coming tonight. Saturday night...that's when they roll in."

"They" refers to the lucky badge holders. But even once they're in the Garden City, the asking price may be steep if they're willing to sell.

"Hardest event in sports to get tickets, badges," Jimmy said. "Supply and demand. Everybody wants them and nobody wants to give them up."

Businessmen in town from Chicago and Texas were out looking for badges, and they had a plan.

"We're going to talk to people who we're going to make our new best friends and sell us their tickets," said Mike Jiongo. "We're willing to do whatever it takes to get in, because we've come from Fort Worth, and we're going to go one way or another. It just doesn't matter."

So just how much will it cost?

We found prices on eBay as high as $6000.

Out on the street, it's a matter of luck. We found people buying practice round badges for $225. Badges for the Tournament will run a few thousand.

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