Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Scalping the scalpers

March 15, 2009

Tickets have been sold out at the Masters since 1972, but if you're willing to spend a lot more than face value for a badge ($200 for all four tournament rounds), you can still go.

In Georgia it's legal to resell or "scalp" tickets provided you follow the local ordinance. In Augusta, that means you can buy or sell badges as long as you're 2,700 feet (about half a mile) from Augusta National property.

Last year, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office gave warnings on the first day of the tournament to those violating the local law and made six arrests by the end of the event. A total of 43 tickets were seized, a department spokesman said. If you're found guilty, the misdemeanor crime is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a year in jail. Fines last year were $750 apiece.

To save money, wait to buy from sellers the afternoon of the tournament day.'

Knowing the law is just one important tip to scalping Masters tickets, says golf fan David Fein of San Francisco. If you want to save big bucks, Fein says you should wait to buy them until the afternoon of the tournament day.

Fein decided on a moment's notice last year to attend the event Friday through Sunday. He didn't have a badge, so he spent time each day negotiating with scalpers before getting inside the gates.

"On Friday and Saturday the asking price in the morning was $1,000, and on Sunday it was $2,500," he says. "I didn't want to pay those kinds of prices, so I waited until the brokers were anxious to sell." By waiting until the afternoon each day, Fein says he paid $350 on Friday, $450 on Saturday and $400 on Sunday. Fein estimates he saved more than $3,000.

"And most of the action is in the afternoon, anyway," he says. In early February, the cheapest single-day ticket to this year's Masters on was $850. For practice-round tickets starting in 2010, see "Tickets" at left.

WAKE-UP CALL: Hotel revenue in Augusta for April 2007 was $11.8 million, which is 265 percent more than an average month in the city.


For 60 years, in a voice barely louder than casual conversation, Phil Harison would stand on the first tee at the Masters and announce each compet-itor. If you were close enough, you might hear, "Fore, please. Jack Nicklaus now driving."

Last April, a few weeks after attending the Masters, Harison died of natural causes at age 82.

Harison, who became a member at Augusta National when he was 21, had attended all 72 Masters. He was also an accomplished golfer. In an interview with Golf Digest Editor-at- Large Nick Seitz in 2007, Harison said he once got four shots from Ben Hogan and beat him. Then they played the next day, straight up. He also played sev-eral times with Bobby Jones and made aces in separate rounds with Nicklaus and President Dwight Eisenhower. -- Ron Kaspriske