The 113th U.S. Open is just over a week away, but tickets have been sold out for quite some time. Thanks to second-market websites like StubHub, eBay and others, you can still make your way onto the historic grounds at Merion, but it's going to cost you a lot more than the $110 or $125 face value.
Due to the size of the course, the number of spectators allowed in each day has been limited to 25,000, not too many more than saw Bobby Jones win the 1930 U.S. Amateur, also held at Merion. Last year's Open at Olympic Club outside San Francisco allowed double that, or about 50,000 fans onto the course each day.
Now take into account Merion's proximity to Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C., and it's easy to see how low supply and high demand drove up the prices. The 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, located outside of Washington, D.C., drew over 176,000 fans (plus an additional 53,000 during the practice rounds).
To put into perspective just how small of a crowd this is going to be for a professional golf event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, held at the TPC Scottsdale, set the record for attendance this year with over 179,000 fans - on Sunday alone. The event usually sees attendance numbers near 500,000 for the entire tournament.
As you can see, Merion is just a bit undersized to handle an event like this, and ticket prices are reflecting this.
Last year, average prices for Thursday's first round were actually below face value, going for just over $70, nearly a $40 discount. As you would expect, prices jumped for the weekend, averaging $115 on Friday, $129 on Saturday, and $122 on Sunday, according to seatgeek.com.
Those numbers are down from 2011, which averaged $147 on Saturday, the most expensive day at Congressional.
This year, however, second-market tickets are going for far more, putting previous Opens to shame.
Here's a breakdown of the average ticket prices for each day over the past three years:
As you can see, this year's Open is one of the hottest tickets in the event's recent history. It may not compare to the Masters when it comes to ticket prices, but Merion is giving Augusta a run for her money.
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