By Rob Hamilton / 92-9 The Game / CBS Local Sports
(Augusta, Ga) – As we all found out last week, Tiger Woods would not be making an appearance at this year’s Masters.
I had the chance on Monday to walk around outside the gates of the Augusta National Golf Club, in the rain. It was a gloomy, rainy, horrible day but I noticed one group of people hard at work. Even more hard at work than I’ve ever seen them before.
So I decided to speak to about 8 or 9 of these “ticket vendors” as they like to call themselves. I was curious about Tiger’s absence and his impact on THEIR world.
Across the board, unanimously, they all told me the same thing.
Demand is down.
None of them would go on record with their real names for fear of retaliation from the Augusta National. I know this place pretty well, their fears are well-founded.
So I’ll refer to them by what they were wearing.
Purple jacket said, “I would have sold almost twice as many practice round, Par 3 and Tournament badges by this point as I have sold.” He went on to say, ” The moment I heard the announcement about not going to Augusta, I immediately started trying to find ways to cut cost. I knew if I was going to make any money at all this week I’d have to change things.”
Two tents over from purple jacket was yellow jacket. Yellow jacket told me, ” My business is down about 25 to 30%. It’s only Monday, but I can already tell.”
A few of the guys closest to the Augusta National would not discuss anything with me at all. These are a very tight-lipped group of guys and girls.
But the closer I got to the interstate, just down Washington Rd, the more vocal these “ticket vendors” were willing to be.
In fact, they were downright mad as hell that Tiger wasn’t going to be there and that in their eyes, he was costing them money. Agree or disagree, this is how they see it.
Some vendors were cutting costs like purple jacket, some vendors were upping prices on practice round tickets and Par 3 tickets to try and offset some of the revenue they were losing on weekend badges.
No matter what they were doing, how they were doing it, they were doing it because of Tiger.