Apr 3 2014, 12:51pm CDT | by Forbes
Although he hasn’t won a Major championship since the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods has still retained his status as the biggest draw in golf over the last six years. Since first appearing in back in 1995 as a Low Amateur, Woods has not once missed the storied tournament. He has had great success on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National, having won The Masters four times since notching his first Major championship at the 1997 event. However, Woods has certainly slowed down in recent years. He has had a few ailments and procedures that have sidelined him from a handful of events including Majors in recent years, but The Masters has remained the only Major that Woods has never missed. That will change this year, as Woods underwent back surgery earlier this week for a pinched nerve that will sideline him for four to five months. As a result, prices for Masters tickets are down by as much 31% depending on the day.
Last year, Woods was playing some fantastic golf heading into The Masters. As a result, ticket prices were up substantially from 2012 as fans hoped to see Woods contend for his 15th Major championship. As a barometer of the interest, the price for a four-day badge last year was up 152% year over year, to an average of $9,267. As a result of the enthusiasm for Woods last year, even the Monday and Tuesday Practice Rounds were up 70.74% and 50.87% from 2012. Monday carried an average of $526, while Tuesday checked in at $718. This year, those prices have taken a step back. Monday’s practice round now has an average of $394 while Tuesday checks in at $546. Prices for the Tuesday round has declined 31% in the last week. According to Razorgator CEO Nima Moayedi, this will be one of the easier years to get Masters tickets, not only because of the lower prices, but also because of higher available inventory compared to other years. According to Moayedi, there are about 3-4 times more inventory available than last year.
As for the individual tournament days, ticket prices for this year are largely down across the board from both 2013 and 2012. This year, expectations for Tiger were tempered to begin with, and prices have fallen further now that he won’t be participating at all. Thursday’s opening round last year had an average price of $2,494, an increase of 43.30% from the 2012 average of $1,740. This year, Thursday tickets are down to an average of $997, and down 20% in the last week. Masters tickets under $1,000 is a rarity, and for the first time in five years, the average price for Kentucky Derby tickets are more expensive than any of the non-practice rounds Augusta. While prices are certainly down, the decrease from last year becomes less drastic as the week goes on. Friday is down 49% from last year to an average of $1,067, and Saturday down 45.97% to $1,058. However, these prices have continued to fall with no Tiger to drive demand. Friday tickets are down 15% since Tiger’s announcement, while Saturday has fallen by 19%.
While badge prices have taken a hit since Tiger’s withdrawal, hotels in an around Augusta are another story. According to Brian Ek at Priceline, Augusta, Ga Hotels are scarce and there is a massive premium for what’s left. On a normal weekend, a three-star hotel goes for between $89 and $127 a night. For the remaining three-star hotels, it will cost $847 a night. For the two-star category, a normal weekend goes for $30 compared to rates this weekend as high as $455. By the time time tournament starts, hotels may be the most expensive part of the equation for fans looking to take in the biggest event in golf.
Despite all the declines, the Masters remains the most expensive golf tournament in the country, as we detailed previously on the TiqIQ blog.
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