If you are looking for evidence of the excitement building around this year's Masters then look no further than the price of a ticket for the last round. Sunday tickets are currently trading on Stubhub at amost $2,400 a pop, that's a whopping 44% up on the price at this stage last year.
Ticket prices this year had been relatively stable compared to last year, at around $1,800 each, until the last 72 hours when Masters fever seems to have kicked in.
What happens next will depend a lot on how the leaderboard shapes up over the next few days. If we have a Woods/McIlroy showdown on Sunday afternoon then prices will surely hit new highs. If we have a less glamorous pairing heading off last, then they could drop significantly.
If you are thinking of heading to Augusta and haven't got a ticket yet then you may want to hold off on your purchase. Last year, prices fell during the week. Despite a strong leaderboard on the Sunday, tickets were available on the morning from Stubhub for around the $1,000 mark. Few people want to take the risk of being left high-and-dry without a ticket so buy them in advance. If you can hold your nerve you may get a relative bargain.
While Stubhub is one option for buying a ticket, many still like to pick theirs up from touts nearby to Augusta National. The advantages are that you don't have to queue to pick them up and return them at the Stubhub office, and you are also likely to get them a little cheaper than from the online broker.
The downside is that if your ticket is a fake or has been cancelled (as apparently is happening a little more this year) you may have to work a little harder to get your money back.
I can recommend Jimmy D who sets up next to T-Bonz, just outside of the legal exclusion zone. He’s been there for over 20 years and works many major sports events across the US. He will undercut Stubhub a little and will be there if you have any problems, which he says has only happened once or twice before.
It is a shame that mere mortals cannot easily get inside the gates at Augusta National as the tickets have largely been in the hands of the same patrons for years. For many of the good people of Augusta, scalping Masters’ tickets is a tradition unlike any other. Whether this will be a bumper year for them will depend on what happens over the next couple of days.