The Waste Management Phoenix Open calls itself “The Greatest Show on Grass” but I’ve heard at least two more appropriate nomenclatures circulating. The WM Phoenix Open, the 14th stop on the PGA tour, is also penned the “Greenest show on Grass”, for its dedication to recycling, and the “Trashiest golf tournament in America” (a literal statement this year) for its raucous attendees. I attended last Saturday and can vouch that these both are true.
The WM Open offers the appeal of being at a golf tournament while being able to act like you are at a monster truck show. This strategy has proven very successful for the tournament; attendance for four-day event broke the PGA record at 563,008. This is 40,000 more than the past attendance record, also achieved in Phoenix, when Arizona hosted the 2008 Super Bowl.
Here are the event highlights:
- Golf superstar Tiger Woods was out of the game by Friday having played the worst day of golf of his professional career. Phil Mickelson also didn’t make the cut, leaving the weekend celebrity free.
- 25 year old newbie Brooks Koepka walked away in 1st place with a meager $1,134,000 purse. Coming in just behind him was my personal favorite Southern man and past winner of the Masters at Augusta National, Bubba Watson. I spent the first half of the day following Bubba around and was impressed at his relaxed demeanor and lack of pretension exhibited in many of the other golfers. As a non-golfer myself, he is easy to like and cheer for and the crowd followed suit. In terms of cheering (and jeering), Watson definitely garnered the most attention on the course.
- An amateur from Arizona State University, Jon Rahm, came in 5th, an impressive standing considering that he is not a professional golfer and is not on the tour. An amateur hasn’t done that well in a tournament since 2008.
There were many other exciting things that happened over the weekend: an impressive hole in one on the 16th, a slew of inebriated girls consistently falling in mud (an amazing event to experience Schadenfreude), amazing giveaways to other sporting events (I won tickets to a hockey game and Spring training!) and more. But unlike other sporting events, I feel like you really have to be there to understand the madness that surrounded it all. Not to mention the wild parties happening in the VIP after. Don’t miss out on the opportunity next year to experience the enigma of all golf tournaments yourself, just don’t forget the beer money.