Masters still an elite event worth watching — even without Tiger

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

If you’re a fan of professional golf, you’ve probably already heard Tiger Woods will not play in the Masters Golf Tournament this weekend. He is recovering from a recent surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back. This will be the first time since Woods was a 19-year-old amateur (1995) that he won’t be part of the field vying for the coveted green jacket at Augusta National.

This has some people in the golf world concerned the Masters just won’t be the same without Woods. Prices for tickets to the first major of the season have taken a hit. According to a TicketCity representative, one of the companies authorized to operate as a secondary seller for tickets and badges, they’ve experienced a 17 percent decline for the four days of golf since Woods withdrew from the event.

It’s still a pretty pricey ticket for the average fan. Before Woods’ announcement, an average four-day badge was selling for $4,000. Since then, they’re averaging around $3,400. This proves to me that this tournament is much bigger than one person and remains one of the hottest tickets in all of sports.

Britain’s former World No. 1, Luke Donald, said: “It’s disappointing for the fans and the game of golf because Tiger is a big part of what we play for and he’s obviously the main attraction when it comes to golf tournaments.”

Donald is another one of this year’s competitors who could walk off the course and into a green jacket.

In addition to Donald, defending champion Adam Scott will face stiff challenges from the likes of Rory McIlroy and Swedish sensation Henrik Stenson. A couple of others guys who might need to have their coat measurements on reserve are Hunter Mahon and Bubba Watson.

Granted, when Tiger is in the Masters field it’s an A+++ event. Even without him, it’s still an A+ event that will draw tens of thousands to the course this week and millions more will still be in front of their televisions this weekend. Even at the reduced rate of $3,400, I’ll be one of the millions tuned in on the tube!

I’ll be pulling for Edgerton, Wis., native Steve Stricker. I realize the 47-year-old is a longshot to win. I don’t mind cheering for the underdog when it comes to golf. If he does manage to out-duel the field, I’d love to tell a few of my golfing buddies “I told you so!”

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

Posted April 9, 2014

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