14-year-old Tianlang Guan, Dustin Johnson, and Tiger Woods skip balls at Augusta National's 16th hole Monday (Getty). Forget the BCS, the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby: the Masters has always been the toughest ticket in sports. And, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, this year’s tickets could be tougher -- and more expensive -- than ever before.
The face value of a four-day pass to the Masters is just $200, easily the best bargain in professional sports. The catch is that the tickets aren’t available to the general public. The list of patrons who regularly receive applications for Series Badges, which grant Thursday-Sunday admittance, has been closed since 1971, according to tournament officials. A waiting list was then established, closed in 1978, re-opened briefly in 2000, and has now been exhausted. In 2011, Augusta National made a limited number of practice-round tickets available to the public via lottery.
Those wanting last-minute badges for the four-day tournament were looking at paying more than $7,000 for each badge on the resale market on Monday morning.
And it's not only for tournament days.
A ticket for Tuesday's practice round, which have a face value of $50 for those lucky enough to either be patrons of Augusta National or get the tickets through the lottery, are now selling for nearly $1,000. In fact, one ticket sold for $1,083 on Stubhub on Sunday.
"I have never seen anything like this," said Patrick McGee, whose sports and entertainment marketing firm has taken care of corporate clients in Augusta for the Past decade. "It's the combination of the Final Four being in Atlanta, Tiger as well as a more stringent effort by Augusta National to make it tougher to scalp tickets."