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updated: 8/27/2012 8:17 PM

Ryder Cup is the hottest ticket in town

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  • Eric Schmidt, executive director of the Ronald McDonald charities office in Oak Brook, is selling tickets to the sold out Ryder Cup. Just prepare to plunk down a few extra bucks.

       Eric Schmidt, executive director of the Ronald McDonald charities office in Oak Brook, is selling tickets to the sold out Ryder Cup. Just prepare to plunk down a few extra bucks.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Eric Schmidt, executive director of the Ronald McDonald charities office in Oak Brook, is selling tickets to the sold out Ryder Cup. Just prepare to plunk down a few extra bucks, especially for Sunday September 30.

       Eric Schmidt, executive director of the Ronald McDonald charities office in Oak Brook, is selling tickets to the sold out Ryder Cup. Just prepare to plunk down a few extra bucks, especially for Sunday September 30.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Ronald McDonald charities office Intern Matt Patterson and Development Coordinator Alexa Norberg, center, talk with Office Manager Annette Crouch at the Ronald McDonald charities office in Oak Brook. They are packaging tickets to the sold out Ryder Cup. Just prepare to plunk down a few extra bucks.

       Ronald McDonald charities office Intern Matt Patterson and Development Coordinator Alexa Norberg, center, talk with Office Manager Annette Crouch at the Ronald McDonald charities office in Oak Brook. They are packaging tickets to the sold out Ryder Cup. Just prepare to plunk down a few extra bucks.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

Ryder Cup tickets sold out instantly during last fall's ticket lottery, entered by more than 100,000 golf fans.

Now, with the event just weeks away, those Ryder Cup tickets have become the hottest tickets in town.

To score entrance to the Medinah Country Club the last week of September to see Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and other golf stars compete will require connections, quick-action, a little luck, and in some cases, big bucks.

Most of the tickets still available are through charities and brokers at above face-value prices. All that's left on RyderCup.com is an $1,800 per person club package on Sunday, and the only ticket packages remaining at PGA-licensed Premier Golf (which include weekend passes and four-night hotel stays) start at $2,850.

One ticket deal that remains is through the PGA, which has a limited number of practice round tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 25-26, for $35 per person. The ticket holders are allowed to bring along two people under the age of 18 for no additional charge.

There are no plans to release any tickets at the last minute, Ryder Cup Tournament Director Michael Belot said.

Fueling the demand is the fact that this Premier PGA golf tournament -- featuring the 24 best golfers in the world -- has never before been held in the Midwest and comes to the United States only every four years, Belot said.

"It's really considered the Super Bowl of golf in terms of the size and scope of it," he said, adding that the Team USA vs. Team Europe matchup makes fans patriotic. "The feeling on site is different from any other golf tournament."

At one point, Lake Park High School was giving away free day passes to anyone willing to work a 14-hour concession stand shift (from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), but the waiting list for volunteers -- more than 3,000 people from 21 states and three countries -- became too long and had to be cut off.

Buying tickets through a charity is the most expensive option, but it helps a good cause and is tax deductible.

Day passes start at $450 from Magnificent Moments, a Ronald McDonald House charity that provides housing for families who have to come to the Chicago area for their child's medical treatment.

Lake Park High School is selling 20 weeklong ground passes for $2,400 each. They hope to sell them as a $48,000 block and use the proceeds to help fund new artificial turf on their athletic fields.

Ryder Cup tickets are a little less expensive on StubHub.com, the top secondary online ticket broker. As of Monday, the website had tickets to the practice rounds available for as low as $16, and day passes for the actual tournament starting at $270 per ticket.

StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said the pricing and available tickets for the Ryder Cup will likely change day-to-day, based on weather, golfer performance, and other last-minute factors.

Because all of the day passes are general admission, it's less complicated to comparison shop, Ferrer said. Plus, a mobile purchase option is available that can let purchasers buy tickets on their mobile phone within hours of the event. If purchasers can't print the tickets, an email correspondence will be sent, directing them to a hotel near the Medinah Country Club where they can pick up their tickets from a StubHub stand.

"My tip for fans would be to be a savvy shopper and continuously check the site," said Ferrer, suggesting people grab deals as soon as they see them.

For those who can't get to the Ryder Cup itself, there's always the Ryder Cup Gala on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the Akoo Theatre in Rosemont. That gala will feature appearances by many of the golfers, singer/actor Justin Timberlake, and a performance by the band Chicago.

The Ryder Cup's random lottery ticket system made available 20,000 passes per day and was the largest random drawing for Ryder Cup tickets in history, Belot said. The number of people who entered the drawing were "well into the six figures."

"It's a testament to the Ryder Cup," he said. "But we had a lot of people who were disappointed."

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