Masters to sell badges online for 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- For the first time in decades, Augusta National will make a limited number of Masters Tournament badges available to the public via its website, beginning with the 2012 event.

The Masters has traditionally been one of the toughest tickets in sports, with a waiting list for patron badges dating back to 1971. Only spectators on the club's list are allowed to buy tournament-round badges each year.

Golf fans will be allowed to submit their applications to both the tournament and for practice rounds via Masters.com. The club is moving all of its ticketing online, including ticket services for annual patrons.

"Moving the entire application process to our official tournament website is a safe and convenient way for those wishing to apply for daily practice round tickets," said Masters chairman Billy Payne. "We are also pleased to provide a limited number of tickets for the individual tournament round days, which, up until now, have only been allocated to our series badge holders."

Daily tournament ticket applications must be submitted by June 30, with practice round applications allowed until July 30. Each allocation will have its own random selection process, with applicants notified by email within several weeks of the application deadline.

Until now, practice round tickets have only been available via lottery.

Next year's tournament runs the week of April 2.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com.