The Phoenix Open is hands down the coolest golf tournament in the world. If you’ve ever been to a golf tournament, just throw all your boring preconceptions, misconceptions and thoughts out because the Phoenix Open is unlike any other tournament you’ve ever been to. It’s a huge party and golf is the last thing on peoples’ minds. Like usual in Scottsdale, it is a scene more like a meat market where it seems more that people are going out to night clubs than to a PGA golf tournament. The par 3 16th hole is the most notorious in golf as there is stadium built around it where people of varying degrees of intoxication are actually allowed to yell and boo at the players. Of course this depends on whether they hit the green or not but it is truly amazing; especially if you’ve been to other tournaments where golf certainly comes first and people aren’t allowed to make noise-hence the term “golf clap”. The Phoenix Open is the best thing that Phoenix has to offer in my opinion and an event that when I eventually do leave Phoenix, I may still come to every year. Happy Gilmore would love it!
As I said the most popular hole for spectators to watch is the 16th hole due to the “Amphitheatre” atmosphere of the hole (see picture above-unfortunately I forgot my camera during play so I had to come back afterwards and take the picture). Poor shots at the 16th hole receive boos. Good shots, however, are cheered for loudly. Famous moments at the 16th include Tiger Woods’ hole-in-one in 1997, which caused the gallery to erupt, throwing cups and other objects in celebration, and Justin Leonard giving the finger to the gallery after a poor shot. The most popular golfer at the Phoenix Open is unquestionably Phil Mickelson, an Arizona State alum and a really likable guy. In addition to the golf, there is a concert/party held near the course in a massive temporary tent called the Birds Nest, at which music artists like Huey Lewis and the News and this year OAR play.
This is the best attended PGA golf tournament of every calendar year, and in 2008 the FBR Open set a PGA Tour single day attendance record with over 170,000 fans in attendance on Saturday, as well as a tournament week attendance record of 538,356 fans. However, I believe this year the attendance has to be higher. Yesterday, Saturday, was the most people I think I have ever seen in one place. There were so many people that they had to essentially close off the birds nest where O.A.R. was playing because they were ordered to by the fire marshall. I also heard rumors that someone was stabbed but I can’t confirm either of those rumors and I haven’t seen any legitimate news reports saying it happened. The point is that it was unbelievably crowded and they were actually giving refunds to people who were turned away. Granted organizers screwed up royally and way oversold. I just read that capacity was supposed to be 6800 people for the birds nest tent. Let me assure you, there were at least 100,000 in the area, meaning having had paid to enter the birds nest grounds, and probably 20-30,000 in the tent itself.
I was fortunate to have been given VIP tickets by my buddy Brian and even back in VIP, they were incredibly oversold and you had to wait in very long lines for drinks and it got fairly annoying. I’d imagine next year they will limit how many tickets they sell for a particular day to avoid the fiasco of last night ever occuring again. However, they did have free Sushi Roku (awesome sushi with restaurants in Vegas, LA and Scottsdale) and other food back in VIP as well. But have no doubt, this golf tournament is a huge party. Tiger Woods won’t even play here anymore because I was told somebody threw something at him once and he got pissed off, apparently not in a party mood. Not much has changed in recent times apparently, haha.
If you have never been to a golf tournament, forget the Masters or the US Open. Come to the TPC Scottsdale next year and hit the Phoenix Open. The scenery is amazing, the course in beautiful, the weather is perfect and the golf is good…err I think because I barely saw any! Nobody does, but I had a great time and if all tournaments were like the Phoenix Open, it would be the highest attended sport in America. Finally, if you or someone you know likes to yell at golfers then sit on the 16th hole and perhaps you, like my good buddy Charlie, can almost get kicked out, albeit while thoroughly entertaining me and my other friends!
The Phoenix Open
February 28, 2010 by 7 Comments