Why Does The Masters Tournament Need Your SSN In Order To Sell You Tickets?

Reader Robert writes:

I guess I will never get tickets to the Masters, because I am not sending them my SSN.

“The deadline for 2009 applicants is July 15, 2008. If you are not on the Practice Rounds mailing list, and would like to be added for 2009, please send your name, address, daytime telephone number, email address and Social Security Number no later than May 1, 2008 to…”

Well, that seems rather intrusive.

Why do they need your SSN? Is this normal behavior for golf-types?

Tickets [Masters]


Edit Your Comment

  1. peggyhill says:

    very odd indeed. A Social Security number is NOT your serial number or a personal ID number. Heck, it isn’t even a photo ID! There are many places in the USA that will NOT accept a SS card as a form of ID.

    I thought the only thing you can really do with an SSN is obtain credit and credit history, and get proper credit for taxation.

    I don’t even want to give Radio Shack my zip code.

  2. They probably run a credit/background check. Private club/private property they can keep out anyone they want.

  3. outinthedark says:

    I’m not sure why they ask for a SSN but in 2007 I was able to go thanks to my roommate’s parents.

    Apparently from what I heard is that you can’t just buy tickets [maybe for the whole tournament?]. They go first to those who have previously held them.

    My roommates grandparents live in Augusta and have had their tickets since the 50’s and have never missed a single tournament. Now that most of them have grown children they split the days up throughout the tournament and that’s why I was lucky enough to go.

    I heard that if you sell your pass for a day and the people you sell it to got kicked out for any reason, you could lose your tickets and never be allowed to return to the tournament. Maybe that’s why they need a SSN on file? Keep out the mischief?

    Personally I could care less for golf but it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” or so says my sports fanatic of a brother. It was actually kind of peaceful until Tiger’s entourage came. At least I can say I was 3 feet from Tiger!

    They actually made me take out my septum piercing before I could enter, made a big fuss over it too. Apparently I wouldn’t look good on camera…

  4. jasonlooney says:

    If I’m not mistaken, they do that to make sure the purchaser of the tickets do not scalp them. If a person uses a scalped ticket, the original purchaser of that ticket is banned from future purchases.

  5. Buran says:

    @Steve Trachsel, Ace: But I think there is a law that states that a business can’t force you to give up your SSN — isn’t there?

  6. laserjobs says:

    Pardon me, do you have any grey poupon?

  7. Rupan says:

    My guess is that they are using it as the primary key in their database. There are other ways you could do this though. If this is the case it speaks to bad database design.

  8. mammalpants says:

    they need it so they can check your tax records to make sure you are the correct race and income bracket. that’s all!

  9. dronnac says:

    @peggyhill: on that note, that reminded me that I was once asked for my zipcode at my local Trader Joe’s like WTH, it only happened once, but it still feels weird.

  10. laddibugg says:

    @dronnac: I thought that was so they could determine from where you were coming, and whether they should build more stores. I really don’t mind if i;m paying cash, though I know they will never build stores in my neck of the woods.

  11. fuzzymuffins says:


    SSN and NO PIERCINGS deemed objectionable??

    any kind of event that would force me to take out a piercing just to be a spectator can stick their golf club where the sun doesn’t shine.

    god forbid any conservative old coot be forced to endure the sight of reality.

  12. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @mammalpants: Haha. Yes. That’s exactly what I was thinking. (Maybe for security checks though… make sure you’re not some felon with Tiger in your sights?)

    @dronnac: Zip code I don’t mind. I understand they probably use that data for geographic marketing or something. I don’t give out my phone number though. I just give them the old Pizza Hut number from my hometown.

  13. MeOhMy says:

    They may give past ticketholders preference, but they also have a lottery for newbies and I believe they do blackball you if you are caught selling the tickets. Of course I know people who made a few grand selling practice round tix and if they did get blackballed they aren’t too broken up about it :-)

    So maybe they are trying to use it to help maintain their blacklist, but they should really come up with a better way.

  14. pendroid3000 says:


    My Trader Joe’s does the same thing. It’s in a rather congested neighborhood of Los Angeles, and is constantly PACKED. I asked about this practice, and their explanation was they were trying to find out where all the outside traffic was coming from…in order to build another Trader Joe’s closer to those people. I buy it…as I generally adore that company. So there ya go.

  15. Dobernala says:

    @mammalpants: What does race have to do with any of this? I agree that the golfers are the snobbiest of any of the ‘sports’, but the richest and snobbiest of them all will fawn over Tiger Woods just as they would any other pro-golfer.

  16. bohemian says:

    @mammalpants: LOL! That was the first thing that I thought of.

  17. catcherintheeye says:

    @Dobernala: There were still plenty of private clubs 10 years ago in my area that wouldn’t allow blacks or women.

  18. bohemian says:

    @Dobernala: Uh. Maybe because Augusta had a “no blacks” policy for decades. They only stopped the practice in the 90’s and still don’t allow women to join.

  19. bohemian says:

    Citation for what I just posted

  20. Chris H says:

    Just tell them that you don’t have one. You could be a Canadian citizen, etc…

  21. dronnac says:

    For Trader Joe’s:
    It’s true that it makes sense seen that way and I understood it afterwards, still being asked personal information makes my body itch.

  22. dronnac says:

    @Chris H: It is true, that makes me thin that when I was living in Canada, I’ve never ever been asked my social security number (the Canadian one I had).

  23. BingoLong says:

    Actually, this doesn’t seem that surprising. They’re Augusta National, and we’re not. Their whole attitude is that they’re doing spectators a favor (and really, the waiting list is long enough that there are plenty of fans who agree).

    A private company can ASK for just about anything they want. If they want, they can say, “Put up your pet as security, and if you sell your ticket or misbehave, ke keep it.” Go ahead and vote Augusta National worst company in america, they’ll probably appreciate it.

  24. Dobernala says:

    This isn’t Augusta or your private club from 10 years ago. This is like going up to someone and asking ‘Why do you beat your wife?’

    Grow up. Framing everything around an unsubstantiated race issue is pathetic.

  25. outinthedark says:

    @fuzzymuffins: Hey I was a guest…what was I to do? They instilled the fear of losing their tickets in me…I hated my roommate enough but his parents were always kind to me…I was on my best behavior for them alone…

    I kept my gauges in even though they were upset about that as well they also had a problem with my snake bite too. Had some bastard when I was sitting on the 1st bleachers yell quite loudly…”He’s got bait in his ears! Herr Herr Herr” [I had buffalo horn spirals in]. I so wanted to yell back…”The Man’s drunk at 9 in the morning!” but the stupid security guys had their eyes on me constantly…

    I really didn’t care about the tournament…I was just enjoying the weather…I wouldn’t give any of those pompous pricks my SSN…I have never in my life been looked down upon by so many people…fuck ’em though…I enjoyed myself even if they couldn’t stop staring at me…!

    On a side note you had to pay $5 for a homemade turkey sandwich…literally homemade like 3rd grade mother made sandwich…not even quality just regular old white bread with american cheese and oscar meyer turkey…the beer was good and cold though…! They didn’t have any problem with underage drinkers though…! [I’m 21 now!]

  26. mikelotus says:

    they submit your ssn to DHS to validate you are not on the terrorist watch list and SSN is more accurate than names which have seen with the no fly list. and since the various feminist groups that protested at Augusta were added to the list at Dick Cheney’s urging, it takes care of that issue too.

  27. getjustin says:

    That’s odd. I just called the University of Florida about getting tickets to the Orange & Blue game and the message said something about needing my SSN to report something to the IRS. I thought maybe it was considered a donation, but it’s weird.

  28. rjhiggins says:

    @Dobernala: If you think all vestiges of racism and classism have been erased from Augusta National you’re not living in the real world.

  29. hi says:

    Just tell them your ss# is 4!

  30. Nytmare says:

    @outinthedark: It’s like two different people wrote your two posts. The first one’s mostly sane and in English.

  31. coold8 says:

    The reason for the SSN is to prevent scalpers from getting too many tickets, which therefore makes it tougher to sell tickets at a premium.

  32. dantsea says:

    @dronnac: Do you have a ZIP code that’s exclusive to you only? This is not a snark-filled question, as some businesses and rural areas have this. For me, I live in ZIP code 94133 with 26,283 other people so I wouldn’t consider it personal.

  33. xl4xlus3iehl says:


    I think you are correct sir. Too often big ticket sporting events get bought up by mostly brokers looking to make a quick buck. This at least makes it more difficult for them to grab them up.

    If you don’t like it, then don’t buy tickets.

  34. algormortis says:

    At Trader Joe’s, just tell them that you’d prefer not to give that information and they’re supposed to back right off.

    I fork over my ZIP at Trader Joe’s and tell them to enter it when people don’t answer, mostly because i’d like to not have to drive 8 miles to the closest one.

  35. alice_bunnie says:


    I think it was a joke. I almost made the same one myself, and I’m a Georgia native.

  36. outinthedark says:

    @nytmare: I’m sorry my schizophrenia is bothering you…

  37. pirate says:

    Since the membership list at Augusta National is private, I find it hard to believe that people can say there are only white people in this private club. You don’t know who is a member, unless you are a member (except Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus).

  38. @pirate: Spend 5 minutes online and you can find a big chunk of the members list. If you are a member you tend to publicize it. This one is a couple years old but is pretty accurate as far as I know.


  39. pirate says:

    @Steve Trachsel, Ace: Didnt realize it was that public. Thanks for the info. Regardless it is a beautiful course and should anyone have the chance to attend, take it! I have been twice and will never forget it.

  40. StevieD says:


    I know of one, well almost. The city hospital and a big arse business were assigned their own zip codes.

    Zip codes use a lot of physical landmarks to divide up the zones.

    There are two side streets with approximately 12 residential houses that share the zip with the hospital and big business.

    I gotta find the zip and start using it as my own.

  41. The Count of Monte Fisto says:

    “I guess I will never get tickets to the Masters, because I am not sending them my SSN.”

    I assure you, the Masters will survive. I understand not wanting to give them your SSN, but it’s your decision not to knowing that you won’t get tickets.

  42. nadmonk says:

    They run it through their secret freemason database to ensure you are white.

  43. jackjackson says:

    They have been doing this for years. The waiting list for tickets is something like 40 years long. They also only accept a personal check for tickets, no money orders or credit cards. They want to make sure that it is YOU who is getting the tickets not a company that will just turn around and resell them. Many of the tickets are actually sold to dead people, whose families just keep paying for them every year, because they can make big bucks selling them to companies who want to wine and dine clients.

  44. Newuser1 says:

    Federal law is very clear on this subject. While it is legal for The Masters to ask for your SSN, they are in violation of the law if they refuse to sell you tickets on the basis of not providing your SSN number. I would file a complaint with the AG and try to get an injuction. But since the event is now ongoing, your best course of action is to sue for punitive damages.

  45. peggyhill says:

    @Chris H: they don’t have one eh.

    Not to mention that there are always major factions from other companies that always make the trip for this.

    The ‘sell you pass to someone that gets kicked out’ thing isn’t cutting it for me. Nice try, Augusta National.

  46. peggyhill says:


    Im not shocked by this at all.

  47. Benny says:

    The SSN can also be used to verify the person by matching the SSN’s address to the address that was given.

  48. twinklebean912 says:


    I work for TJ’s and the whole chain does it once a year for about a week to see where our customers are coming from so we can open new stores closer to them as well as to see how traffic changes when new stores open. Some high volume stores in the company do it more frequently for more in depth marketing reasons. Just tell the crew member you don’t want to give it to them and we just type in “99999” which means no data. It’s no big deal :)

  49. fireshaper says:

    Having lived in Augusta my entire life I’ve heard a lot about the master’s tournament and how special it is to get tickets. The mailing list to get tickets to the tournament is closed, you can only get on the list for practice rounds (I believe) and giving them your SSN ensures if you try to scalp the tickets they can blackball you.

    My grandfather is on the mailing list for tickets and so are some of his friends (been on there for many, many years). But driving down the Augusta streets you will find plenty of people buying and selling passes out in the open, on the side of the road, with signs held high. Quite the spectacle.

  50. vinhpoo says:

    I live in Augusta and I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Masters the past few years. I’m not sure where outinthedark bought his sandwich, but nothing in the concession stand is more than $2.50, and that’s a beer in a souvenir cup. Sandwiches are between $1.50 and $2.00, unheard of for a major event. Prices in the golf shop, however…