Demand for tickets to The Masters is "up this year and people are prepared to pay top dollar for a chance to walk the event's famous fairways" this week, according to Adam Folk of the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE. Webtickets.com Chief Ticket Officer Carl White said that demand is "stronger than in 2010 and it's being reflected in the prices for tickets." Two badges for the four tournament days "were selling for $6,690" on Webtickets.com yesterday, while two tickets for Thursday's first round "were selling for $3,440." eBay "had Thursday tickets for $1,600." On StubHub.com yesterday, a "four-day competition package of badges was selling for $3,414." Last year, the same package "sold for more than $1,000 less." StubHub Corporate Communications Manager Joellen Ferrer: "Despite the lack of the 'Tiger Effect' this year, we're seeing strong demand -- even higher than last year or any previous years. As a result, prices are trending higher than last year." Folk notes while sales are "brisk online," Augusta police are "keeping a watchful eye within the 2,700-foot zone surrounding Augusta National Golf Club where ticket selling is prohibited" (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/5).
OPENING THEIR GATES: ESPN.com's Bob Harig reported Augusta National, "for the first time in decades," will make a "limited number of Masters Tournament badges available to the public via its website, beginning with the 2012 event." The Masters "has traditionally been one of the toughest tickets in sports, with a waiting list for patron badges dating back to 1971." Only spectators "on the club's list are allowed to buy tournament-round badges each year." But beginning with next year's tournament, golf fans "will be allowed to submit their applications to both the tournament and for practice rounds via Masters.com." The club is "moving all of its ticketing online, including ticket services for annual patrons." Daily tournament ticket applications "must be submitted by June 30, with practice round applications allowed until July 30." Each allocation "will have its own random selection process, with applicants notified by email within several weeks of the application deadline" (ESPN.com, 4/4). Masters officials said that this will be the "first time in 47 years that daily tickets will be offered to the public." GOLF.com's Mike Walker noted the "price of a one-day practice round ticket for the 2012 Masters at Masters.com is $50; daily tickets to the tournament will be $75" (GOLF.com, 4/4). An Augusta National official, when asked how many daily badges are up for grabs, said, "Just the right amount." GOLF WORLD DAILY's Ron Sirak wrote, "One of the best-kept secrets is how many people are at Augusta National on Wednesday -- the most crowded day -- when some estimate there could be 60,000 on hand. The best guess for competition days is about 40,000. Now there will likely be more" (GOLF WORLD DAILY, 4/5). Golf Channel's Erik Kuselias: "This is The Masters stepping into the computer age ... and doing a great job allowing the public to get some access to this beautiful property" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 4/5).