Shopping gone wild

April, 6, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Hi, my name is Wright, and I am powerless over gear. I admit it. I love gear. Hats. T-shirts. Any sort of fleece, shell or outerwear. And besides Augusta National being a beautiful place, with, you know, the tradition unlike any other -- excuse me: unlike any utha -- and the tinkling pianos, the uh-zayle-yuhs, and buh-buhn and whaa-tah, it is, first and foremost, a temple of gear. Excuse me.

A Temple of Gear.

In the press room, you will find empty coffee cups, computers, scribbled notes, pens, and you will find, hidden beneath every seat, the clear plastic bags with green pinstripes, bulging with Gear. Most fans carry them, too. Some people get here and spend more time buying stuff to commemorate their visit than they do on the course itself. August National doesn't sell it at any other place, or during any other time of year. Buy it at the course or don't buy it.

My credential gets me access to the members' Pro Shop, not just the public gift shop for the unwashed. An hour ago, I broke down and went. The room itself is small. Full of people. There are wool sweaters, cashmere sweaters, two dozen different hats, golf clubs, shoes, crystal whiskey glasses, plastic tumblers, full luggage sets, ludicrously expensive watches, wallets, Tiffany cufflinks, all sorts of golf shirts, a row of silk ties, carefully folded Oxford cloth shirts, and rain gear with sleeves, and without. The shelves are dark wood, as you'd expect, and the air is frantic. People grasp at hangers, arms full of gear. I feel all warm inside. I'm home.

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Augusta gift store receipt
Wright Thompson/ESPN Hmmm … I know. Sonia won't be happy.

I meant to just buy hats for my friends Seth, Joe and John. You know: I'll just have one drink then go home. Something happened. My wife is gonna be really pissed, and, since she doesn't read the stuff I write from events, she won't find out until the credit card bill comes.

Here, now, the damage:

Wright Thompson | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Wright Thompson (@wrightthompson) is a senior writer for and The Magazine. He has been featured in seven editions of Best American Sports Writing and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.




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