AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Feelin' lucky?
For the first time in 47 years, Augusta National next spring will make available a select number of daily tournament tickets through a new program wherein fans can apply online for a shot at what traditionally has ranked as the toughest ducats in sports.
Here's the catch -- it's literally a one-off deal, though it won't likely affect the application appetite much. Unlike annual Masters badge holders, who have weekly tickets that are passed along in the family for generations, the new policy will allow selected applicants to purchase single-day passes only. It's similar to the protocol the club uses for distribution of practice-round tickets for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Of course, the odds of getting the congratulatory email from the club might not be terrific. The new policy is sure to draw millions of applicants and only a lucky few will be selected via what the club described as a random draw.
The club is moving all of its ticket sales online at Masters.com. Those hoping to win the lottery for a live tournament round must apply by June 30 for next spring's event. Practice round passes have been circulated through a random draw since 1995. The deadline ro register for a chance at securing practice-round tickets is July 30.
"Moving the entire application process to our official tournament website is a safe and convenient way for those wishing to apply for daily practice round tickets," Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said in a statement. "We are also pleased to provide a limited number of tickets for the individual tournament round days, which, up until now, have only been allocated to our series badge holders."
In the lottery draw, the maximum allocation for daily tournament tickets is two for any one day and four for any single day for practice round tickets. Tournament week begins April 2 next year. If picked, tickets for practice rounds are $50 and daily rounds are $75.
When asked for more detail, Payne would not divulge the number of tickets that will be made available for Thursday-Sunday tournament play. The club does not announce attendance figures and did not specifically state how many live-round tickets would be made available. Thus, it's hard to speculate on an applicant's odds of being selected for a live round.
"We have actually cut down on the number of people here over the past few years," Payne said of the attendance. "You could say the practice rounds are a needle in a haystack, because we have always had far more applications [than tickets available]. But still, it's the first time in 47 years [for a chance]."
Half-teasingly asked whether the process would be truly random, Payne said, "Yes, sir."