With four days before the start of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, opportunities for last-minute tickets are everywhere - just pick your price.
Anyone who wants to catch the first practice round Monday morning can go for as little as $20, according to sites like StubHub and eBay. But anyone with more than a passing interest is going to pay: at least $250 for a tournament day pass, and anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 for a weekly badge.
For true devotees, there are offers like a $15,000 VIP package for two advertised on Craigslist that includes championship tickets, four nights in a luxury hotel, transportation, food and drinks, dinner with "a golf talent," and more.
The relatively small size of the Merion club, combined with the area's proximity to other cities on the Northeast Corridor, has resulted in high demand and soaring ticket prices, area ticket sellers and officials said.
Day passes were originally sold by the U.S. Golf Association starting at $30 to $50, with weekly badges selling at face values of $125 to $175. Ticket packages for the championship series started at $550. Championship-round tickets sold out long ago and faster than usual, said Dan Hubbard of the USGA.
"The excitement level for this is as high as we've ever seen in any USGA event," he said. "This location exposes us to a huge fan base."
The Merion club has capped daily attendance at 25,000, about half the size of the crowd at the 2012 U.S. Open in San Francisco. The decision was made to ensure that spectators experienced the best possible conditions, Hubbard said.
Center Stage Tickets, a Bala Cynwyd-based company, bought tickets to the Open a year ago. The company still had tickets available for the championship as of Tuesday, said Andrew Siegel, director of buying.
"It just depends what you want to pay at this point," he said. "It's a major event, Tiger Woods is back on top, and anyone in the area with any interest in golf is going."
The high demand has presented opportunities to a range of sellers. The $15,000 VIP package was won at a charity auction, according to the seller who posted the Craigslist listing. Another seller in Rochester, N.Y., was selling two sets of seven days' worth of passes for $1,490, saying he won them in a contest but could not go because of work conflicts.
Even some in the Main Line neighborhoods surrounding the event have seized on opportunities for extra cash. In addition to a number of pricey home and apartment rentals up for grabs, residents who received free parking permits for themselves and guests have taken to selling them on Craigslist for as much as $500, Haverford Deputy Police Chief John Viola said.
"We took these additional measures to keep people from outside the area from coming in and disrupting lives, and the neighbors were inviting them in," he said. "We can't win."
There were plenty of other people looking to make a deal on Craigslist. Some local residents, meanwhile, were looking to trade Phillies tickets for Open passes. One man in the Northeast sought two or three tickets in exchange for free labor, writing: "Will trade contracting services or let me know what you would be looking for and I will see if I can accommodate. Trying to get for my parents and StubHub prices aren't working for me."