What is the best attended event on the PGA Tour? Well, it may surprise you to learn that it’s last weekend’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. 179,000 fans thronged the course on Saturday February 2nd this year, a one-day record for the PGA. As well as being the best attended, it is also undoubtedly the rowdiest.
That atmosphere takes a turn for the hostile when players reach the 16th tee, which features a unique tiered grandstand for the spectators. Here, Justin Leonard once famously gave the stands the finger after a poor tee shot. Bubba Watson seemed to recall this at the weekend, as he stopped short of reacting too angrily to the catcalls and jeers.
The atmosphere at the Phoenix Open has been said to more closely resemble that of a Football game. Well, with the Cardinals, Sun Devils and Wildcats years away from winning anything, it’s nice to give the folks of Arizona some golfers to yell at. The event conveniently falls on Super Bowl weekend these days. This way, the atmosphere can always be attributed to Super Bowl fever. Rather than “The spectators here are just jerks.” But let’s not blame Arizonans. Every year, more people are coming from further afield for the unique opportunity to scream abuse at a pro golfer.
As for the action? Local hero Phil Mickelson won and came close to shooting a 59 on Thursday. While this is quite an achievement, his overall score of -28 is a little ridiculous. What’s more ridiculous is that -28 isn’t even a record, it merely ties it! Sorry, but -28 seems like a score somebody shoots when playing Tiger Woods ’13 on Super Dweeb Mode. Maybe Lefty will move back here now, since the course didn’t tax him too much (get it!?)