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PGA of America makes good with fans shut out during 2020 Ryder Cup online ticket snafu

October 30, 2019

Brendan Moran

Hell hath no fury like a Ryder Cup fan scorned. Especially when it comes to trying to land tickets to the biennial event.

The good news? Some fans who were shut out earlier this month because of an apparent technical glitch in the PGA of America’s online ordering system have been able to get tickets to next year’s matches at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin after all.

Two days after the event sold out in less than an hour on Oct. 16—and outrage ensued across social media—officials with the PGA of America began reaching out to customers who thought they had landed tickets only to be told their order couldn’t be processed. These customers were then given a second chance to buy tickets.

In the form email, the PGA of America said it was able to identify a processing error had occurred and apologized for the inconvenience. Naturally, most of those affected jumped at the opportunity.


“I was able to purchase what I had in my cart at the time [when] I was unable to process and was kicked to the back of the line [on Oct. 16],” said Nathan Barker when contacted by Golf Digest. “Same prices, which was fine. [I] wasn’t looking for anything other than the opportunity to purchase what was lost.”

It wasn’t so much the fact tickets had vanished in about 45 minutes after going on sale that angered fans; it was the process in which many were left waiting for hours trying to purchase tickets, or thought they had bought them only to find out that wasn’t the case.

Much of the frustration also centered around the use of the word “lottery.” Those interested in purchasing tickets registered their email addresses weeks earlier and received an access code two days prior to tickets going on sale, with instructions to log in to the digital ticket lobby beginning at 9 a.m. later that week. But that had only assured them a spot in line, as stated on the PGA of America’s website, not guaranteed they’d get tickets.

Adding to the anger was that immediately after the event sold out, tickets popped up on third-party websites, at several times face value. The PGA of America also issued a statement at the time saying verified tickets were available for sale directly at the Official 2020 Ryder Cup Ticket Exchange powered by PRIMESPORT, a PGA of America-approved “secondary market,” where prices ranged from $427.50 to $450 for match days and $85.50 to $180 for practice rounds.

PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh was at Congressional Country Club in Maryland on Monday as part of PGA Hope’s National Golf and Wellness Week. Speaking there, he said that the PGA of America found less than 2,000 customers who were shut out in the process and made good on their orders.

“We’re thrilled obviously with the reaction of it being sold out to the point where we got overwhelmed with tickets,” Waugh told Golfweek. “I think the reality of anything is mistakes are going to happen, problems are going to come up. How you deal with them is what defines you.”

So how did the PGA of America deal with them and have more tickets to offer?

“We created inventory; that was fair,” Waugh said. “We had clients that did everything right and didn’t get fulfilled.”