A Masters Plastic Cup is almost as cherished as a green jacket

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – The most wanted souvenir from the masters can be found in the garbage.

Adult men attending the event can occasionally be seen by sieving rubbish bins to grab this valuable jewel with the distinctive Masters logo.

When it is collected, it is lovingly removed from the site. Days later it will take a place of honor, perhaps displayed next to heritage porcelain in a glass dining room cupboard.

In the masters, it is a memento like no other. is a plastic cup with a diameter of 7 inches that was used to serve $ 2 soda & # 39; s or $ 4 beer to spectators during the Masters. Because it can only be obtained at Augusta National Golf Club during the annual tournament, it is diligently potted.

By simply placing your foot inside the stately gates of Augusta National, adult adults can behave strangely. Some kiss the ground, others cry, overcome on arrival at a place they have been dreaming of visiting for decades. One man famously tried to steal a cup of sand and ended up in jail.

With safety first, there is a long list of bans. However, the collection of drinking cups is not one of them.

Which leads to a well-known Masters look: a cavalcade of spectators, counting thousands, walking around the building with four to ten of the lightweight cups stacked in one hand, if not both.

It is the ultimate Masters insiders' tip. Don't buy a $ 30, 16-ounce stainless steel cup with a logo adorned in the store if you can get the plastic version of Everyman 80 to 90 percent off at concessions throughout the course. Because most cups come with the year of the event embossed on the side and sometimes differ slightly in design from tournament to tournament, they are almost a series collectible.

And they come with a drink!

"A piece of sports history and a way to stay hydrated," said Jimmy Samuels, who is in Tampa, Fla. Lives while he was standing on the ninth green Wednesday with a full beer in his left hand and three empty cups in his right. "When you get it home, you make your friends jealous."

That's right, these are not souvenirs to hand out as gifts.

"No, it's our fine porcelain," Hollie Williams, from Memphis, said with a wry smile as she waited near the putting green.

The cups are available in two styles. A matte, off-white motif honors the cups for soft drinks, iced tea and homely light beer. Imported beer, or what Augusta National calls "American craft beer", is the most expensive drink, for $ 5, and it is poured into green (more precisely, masters green) cups.

Since Masters officials allowed the size of the crowd through the gates, and because the club employs a bulky service staff, the lines for concessions are usually minimal, which facilitates cup collection.

Indeed, collecting the most impressive pile of cups seems to be a parallel game here, in addition to the golf competition, everyone bought a ticket to watch.

Adam Fraser, who came from Edmonton, Alberta for his first Masters, proudly held a stack of eight cups. Looking at his watch, he chirped: "Eight by noon, not bad."

His friends Dale Scott and Mike Verhoski, who accompanied him to Augusta, said their goal for the day was 20 cups each.

"It's a long day, man, and it's hot. "Verhoski said.

What would they do with all those cups?

"I will take a bunch to my lake cabin home and let my friends enjoy them," Fraser said. "That will be a big hit."

Nearby was Milt Druce of Salt Lake City, who said he came to his first masters many years ago with Billy Casper, the 1970 champion, after meeting him through a mutual friend.

"Before the tournament started, Billy Casper told me to keep everything that I got with the Masters," Druce said. "He said I would cherish those things forever."

At that first tournament, Druce was confused when he saw people around the garbage bins that were placed everywhere on the court.

"When I saw someone throw a cup away and two boys dive into the trash to get it," Druce said. "So now I understand."

And like many people who were interviewed, he had no plans to give away the Masters cups that he had stored on one arm.

"My son is with me this year and I told him to get his own cups," Druce said. "When the boys come for poker, I want to break them out and have one for everyone."

Masters officials refused to disclose details about how many cups of beer, soda, iced tea or other drinks are sold at the event each year, or how many plastic cups the club orders each year.

Hollie Williams and her Companions – Her Husband, Brian; sister-in-law, Debra; and brother-in-law, Brent – gathered with a pragmatic foresight.

The cups, said Brian Williams, are dishwasher safe and "last a long time." They indicate access through the Augusta National gates, not a small achievement in the golf world. They are economical, although the Williamses did not intend to squirt a few dozen empty beer cups between them. They then had a long drive home.

But Rob White, who rode the 700 miles from St. Louis to Augusta, already had 12 white-marbled and green heads under his arm on Wednesday morning – and a satisfied grin on his face. He had picked some of the garbage and mixed it in an iced tea or soda with his beer intake. It was his second visit to the masters.

"I already have about 15 of these cups at home," White said. "I may throw away all my other glasses and fill the kitchen cabinet with Masters cups. How perfect is that?"

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