Tiger Woods on Tuesday announced that he would miss The Masters next week due to back surgery, and less than 24 hours later, tickets prices for the tournament were "down significantly on the online secondary market," according to Dan Wetzel of YAHOO SPORTS. Some prices for "one-day badges on StubHub.com dropped" 10% within the first hour of Woods' announcement. As of midday Tuesday, badges for next Thursday's opening round were going for $1,165 on StubHub.com." But by 11:00am ET yesterday, they were down to $940, a 19.3% drop in "less than a day, and will likely continue to drop." There also were "similar drops across all four days of competition." StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said, "No single athlete has a greater impact on our ticket prices." RazorGator.com has "seen prices fall also, although not at such a high rate" as StubHub. But experts said that prices "likely won't drop too much further," as there "remains relatively low inventory on the secondary market and most people headed to the event have already made travel arrangements." Woods had "played the Masters every year" since '95 (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/2). Meanwhile, Augusta police said that anyone caught "buying, selling or handing off tickets within a 2,700 foot boundary around the Augusta National could face misdemeanor charges or get a ride in a police car." In Augusta, Bianca Cain Johnson notes brokering tickets is "legal as long as the buyers and sellers have their correct paperwork" and are not within boundary (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 4/3).
A TRADITION JUST LIKE ANY OTHER? In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote The Masters "just became less interesting." Woods draws the "biggest galleries -- by a longshot -- and stirs the most media attention and biggest television ratings" (AJC.com, 4/2). The N.Y. Daily News' Bruce Murray said it is a "huge blow" to the tournament not having Woods. Murray: "If Tiger's on the leaderboard Saturday or Sunday, they get huge ratings. If he's not, you've got to hope for one of three guys: (McIlroy, Mickelson) and I can't even think of a third guy" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 4/1). ESPN's Andy North said, "Tiger is so important to our business and particularly with the majors coming up" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/1). Golf Channel's Tripp Isenhour said, "Augusta is not the same without Tiger Woods. Let's be honest." Golfer Luke Donald added, "Tiger is a big part of what we play for, and he is obviously the main attraction when it comes to golf tournaments. ... He brings in the crowds and the fans, and it is not as strong a game without him." Golf Channel's Scott Walker: "From a fan's perspective, missing Tiger Woods is a big loss for The Masters." But golfer Steve Stricker said, "It's unfortunate for the tournament and The Masters. But it will go on. There are still a lot of great players" ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 4/1). Golf Channel's Tim Rosaforte: "It will still be an unbelievable Masters, but obviously there will be a big piece of it missing, sadly" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 4/2). Golfer Rory McIlroy said, "The Masters will still be the Masters even though he won't be there" (GUARDIAN, 4/3).