The cost of attending the Masters falls as companies lay low

The anemic economy and companies' concerns about the public appearance of the gentleman's game have driven down demand this year for one of the most cherished corporate perks: a trip to the Masters.

For the millions of viewers in more than 180 countries who tune in to watch a resurgent Tiger Woods and the rest of the field tee off next Thursday in the tournament's opening round, nothing will seem amiss. The impossibly verdant grounds of Augusta National Golf Club are sure to be as lined by spectators as ever. "A tradition unlike any other," the CBS announcers will intone. But behind the scenes of golf's first major championship of the year -- and the only one of the four to be held at the same venue every year -- what is traditionally a week-long party in Augusta, Ga., is expected to be noticeably more subdued.