Let’s say you’re at this week’s PGA Championship, walking alongside the sweeping fairways of Southern Hills, and you find yourself a bit parched. You decide a cold beer would taste just fine. How much would you expect to pay? Five bucks? Seven? Ten at the far outside, right?
How about $19?
Yes, this year’s PGA Championship is charging up to $19 for a can of Stella Artois, or a mere $18 if you want to stick to Michelob Ultra. Cocktails are also $19, which is something of a surprise considering the usual beer-to-cocktail cost ratio. Wine is a relative bargain at $13 a pour.
Nineteen freaking bucks for a beer! And it comes in a can, not a keg! Just for perspective, here are a few ways you could have spent $19 at the Masters this year:
Nine soft drinks
Nine bottled waters
Four domestic beers
Three imports and one domestic
Twelve pimento cheese sandwiches
Nineteen bags of chips
Granted, not every tournament can price its food like it's 1965 the way the Masters can, but even so, a long day on the course could run a thirsty fan into the three figures.
Justin Thomas stepped into the fray on the fans’ behalf on Monday:
“You want people to come to the tournament. If I'm on the fence and I'm looking at the concession stand, that's not the greatest thing,” Thomas elaborated on Tuesday. “I was just blown away because I've never seen a beer $18 or $19 in my life. Guys have been talking about it, so I, you know, had to stand up for the fans. Felt like it was right.”
“Michelob Ultra is 18 bucks, but it's a tall boy,,” Brooks Koepka said. “It's bigger than the normal ones, so you'll be all right. You drink enough, you'll be fine.” (Worth noting: Koepka is sponsored by Michelob.)
Here’s the bad news: These kinds of high prices at premium events are likely here to stay. PGA officials defended the prices by saying they were “sort of comparable to stadium events,” and, well … they’re right. Beer prices at the Super Bowl in February were $19 for craft beer, $17 for domestic, and $10-$17 for wine. Ouch.
There is some consolation for the fans in attendance at the actual tournament, though: all-you-can-eat food and nonalcoholic beverages.
“Starting Thursday, spectators will be able to drink non-alcoholic beverages and as much food as they want for the price of their ticket,” Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer of the PGA of America, said Tuesday. “For those on the practice days, all spectators can bring in bottled water, and starting Thursday we’ll have refills on water.”
This is how it works, folks. Right now we’re stuck paying $19 a beer. Before long, we’ll be lucky if we’re getting them for less than $25. (Loan officers will be on hand for those patrons who wish to finance their beer purchase.)
If you’re headed to the PGA Championship, we can’t endorse sneaking alcohol onto the premises, even if it’ll save you the price of a steak dinner. But remember: They won’t check the contents of your belly. Pregaming isn’t just for football.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.