Record-Setting Crowds Turn Out For PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open
Fans "appeared in record-setting numbers" at last week's PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open, "proving this tournament will always win an arm-wrestling match with Super Bowl weekend," according to Paola Boivin of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The event "continues to successfully balance tournament and party." There are "a few pros gripe about the rowdy atmosphere, but most come back because it provides a stage like no other, and those who can free themselves from the shackles of their comfort zone find it exhilarating." Saturday's attendance of 189,722 set "not only a single-day Phoenix Open record but most believe a single-day PGA Tour mark (records aren't kept)." The tournament is "on an upward trajectory," as it has "seen 500,000-plus total crowds in seven of the past 12 seasons." Tournament Chair Tom King said, "We set an all-time record in attendance, concessions, ticket sales and ultimately that will go [to] our charities. We would love to say $7 million this year compared to $6.2 last year. We'll see." Boivin noted the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course was "expanded by 20 skyboxes and 500 general-admission seats." The course is "spacious enough to accommodate more fans, although the areas near the clubhouse and dining tend to bottleneck quite a bit on Saturdays." There were "some complaints about the lines for shuttle service from public parking earlier in the week, but even those inconveniences don't seem to keep fans away." Still, the tournament is not "for fans of old-school golf." The Tour is "thrilled with the visibility the Phoenix Open brings but it is watchful" of fan behavior (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/3). USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio reported yesterday's final round drew 60,000 fans (USATODAY.com, 2/2).
MAJOR FUN: GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Jim Moriarty writes a final-round pass to the Phoenix Open "is the easiest ticket in sports." Moriarty: "Truly a tradition like no other, it's the biggest party in golf and everyone is invited." It occasionally "seems like the suits" at the PGA Tour "have trouble relating to all this frivolity and excess, but that may be because the stands surrounding the par-3 16th hold more people in four days than attend Jacksonville Jaguars games in an entire season." Moriarty: "When the day ends, it has the distinct feel of a major championship" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 2/3).