It’s true, there is nothing quite like being there. I am sort of kicking myself now for not attending the 2009 US Open Championship in Farmingdale, NY. After all, I live in Massachusetts so it is only a little over 3 hours from here. Oh well.
The really last big tournament* I attended was the 1999 Ryder Cup in Brookline, Ma. And it was absolutely crazy. 30,000 people surrounding 4 holes. But the action, excitement and wonderful play will be an experience I will never forget.
Interesting side note: I remember I wanted to get to Brookline CC as early as possible so a friend and I left at about 6 am (I lived about 2 hours from the course) Just as we were getting off the exit, my friend asked me if I had the tickets (and I knew I grabbed them) but as I looked down I had the worst sinking feeling you can imagine. The tickets were for the wrong day! We had to turn around head 2 hours back and 2 more to get back to the course. Needless to say, I did not get there as early as I anticipated 🙂
But if you plan ahead you (which is what I am planning to do) you can obtain tickets to *most* of the majors (Augusta being the stickler) or Ryder Cup events. There will be information on each of the majors 4 sites on getting tickets or you can obtain them through a third party – but be careful. There are MANY less than scrupulous entities online.
And really, the ticket prices to these events are not so bad. For example, you can still get tickets to the 2009 British Open this year at Turnberry for about $90 a day (for adults). Seniors and children are much less. Tickets for the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straights in Kohler, WI are about $100 a day for Thursday-Sunday.
A couple things to consider if you want to put a major on your calendar. The first thing to consider is which major you would like to attend. Or maybe it doesn’t matter. Of course, all the majors (except the Masters) are on a revolving course schedule so you might find one close to your location in the coming years. Doing it this way certainly can save you much in travel expenses.
Second, who will be going with you? friends? family? My wife for one, is not the biggest golf fan in the world but DOES understand and appreciate the game, but if I suggested a family vacation that revolves around a Golf Major I would probably get a frying pan to the back of my head. That being said, and depending on the location, you could plan family events around the particular location (even if you can attend for only a day)
Finally, how many day(s) will you be attending. Some people like to get the week long pass and others just want to go for a day. Really depends on how much golf you, your friends or family can take.
I am not really sure what to recommend for The Masters. They are sold out years in advance but you can always find tickets online. It’s just depends on how much you want to pay. A friend of mine recently drove down to Augusta for The Masters (with no tickets) and had no problems obtaining them (at a pretty decent price) from some locals.
But I am sure, being that we are big time golf bloggers now 🙂 that we will have some Master tix sent to John and I.
In closing, the farther ahead of time you do this the easier it will be. That is really the secret. And the research, planning obtaining and anticipation of the big event is almost as much fun as the tournament itself. So give yourself a little gift (you deserve it!) and plan to attend a golf major championship sometime in the near future. My planning has already started!
*Oops – forgot the 2004 Women’s US Open at The Orchards in South Hadley, MA