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At Masters, some come to see the golfers, others to see the statues

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AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) – Boxes weren’t flapping off the shelves. They didn’t even make it to the shelves.

The masters have gone crazy.

Yeah. statues; The must-have item for this year’s Masters isn’t any of the championship-themed T-shirts, pullovers, or hats that can only be purchased by those lucky enough to make their way into the Augusta National lands.

Instead, gnome is all the rage. Just ask Tom Frituluso, who left his house at 4 a.m. on Tuesday to get to Augusta National and was back in his car by 8 a.m. — without seeing a single golfer take a single swing.

He had a collection of souvenirs, including two statues. He wouldn’t say how he got two; The signs in the shop indicate that the gentlemen limited it to one per person.

“I’m self-employed and I need to go to work,” said Frituluso, the house painter, who made his way toward the gates as thousands of people walked in the opposite direction to Augusta National Territory. “But I get figurines almost every year. I got a ticket to the coaching role and here I am now finished.”

Gnomes debuted on The Masters in 2016 and was an instant hit, though no one seems to remember it as a phenomenon as much as it is this week.

There are two different versions of the statues this year; The one that hundreds of people lined up to get on Tuesday morning was this year’s version of a chariot, standing nearly a foot high, wearing a green-and-white-striped Master shirt, khakis, green-and-white boots, a yellow hat and a bag of batons slung over his right shoulder.

Asking price for the Masters: $49.50.

Asking about price online: Most were going somewhere between $150 and $500 on Tuesday, depending on where you looked. The smaller version – a small gnome in the master’s traditional white canine dress – could be much smaller.

On Tuesday, a store worker tried to reload the shelf with more products. The task was futile: shoppers grabbed it as soon as they got to the shelf, sometimes from the worker himself.

“People will buy anything,” one of them said at the checkout queue.

They will, whether it’s figurines, T-shirts, belts, hats, and whatever else they can get their hands on with the Masters logo. There are endless reasons: Not everyone can get into the Masters because the ticket is among the toughest in the sport, and the Masters also don’t sell merchandise online – except for some photos, and the Masters Journal and Annual Masters that sum up the week of the tournament.

And for the record, many of the site’s shoppers received bad news as soon as they entered the Masters store on Tuesday.

Statues disappeared.

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More from AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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