If you’re interested in making a trip to a PGA Tour event there are dozens of opportunities to do so. There are certainly tournaments you may not even be aware of. Enter the Waste Management Open.
Waste Management Open
This one really does fly under the radar with the PGA Tour schedule having so many big events. Referred to as “The greatest show on grass”, The Waste Management Open is notorious for its raucous crowds, crazy parties, celebrity appearances, and big-name golfers.
A professional sport with a wild party atmosphere in the background? This sounds like something straight out of a scene in Happy Gilmore. Oh, and don’t forget that it’s set in Arizona in late January. So, add in 70-degree temperatures and sunny skies to the mix here.
There is plenty of space to hang out on any of the holes and get a look at your favorite golfers. Although the purse is still over $7 Million, the Waste Management Open is a lower stress event. The fans are clearly here in Phoenix for strictly leisure and don’t put as much emphasis on the actual outcome compared to other tournaments.
The Par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale
Played at TPC Scottsdale, located just outside of Phoenix, there are many features that make this course great. A particularly famous aspect of the Waste Management Open is the magic surrounding the par-3 16th hole. After finishing up the par-5 15th and taking the short walk over to the 16th tee, the sport of golf turns into a playoff game 7.
The grandstands that circle the 16th hole have a capacity of about 20,000 people. There are nearly 300 additional corporate sky boxes as well. Because that many people are gathered at a short par-3 like this, the noise can be deafening.
Not only does it sound like a stadium crowd it legitimately looks like one. Against traditional golf etiquette, the fans here are particularly rowdy. They are happily ready to cheer and/or boo the professionals after they take their tee shots.
The pressure of the 16th hole is 100% real for the players. Just take a look at the video below to see what they see when they’re walking onto the tee. In no way does the environment on the 16th actually resemble a golf course. Instead, it looks like a par-3 golf hole was copy and pasted into a football stadium.
One funny thing I’ve noticed watching some highlights of this hole is that the fans have no chill. They are yelling from the moment the next golfer walks through the tunnel until they leave the green. Unless you throw a dart that’s within a few feet of the pin or get a hole-in-one, the fans won’t act impressed.
Let the Fans Loose!
Some people think that this type of Ryder Cup crowd feel isn’t great for the game of golf and its lengthy traditions. I say this is exactly what golf needs. Now, I’m not saying that every tournament should be like this. Obviously when you’re at Augusta or St. Andrews they should crack down on that type of behavior.
I’m also not saying to throw beer cans at the players. But taking a few shots at a bunch of guys who get paid tons of money to play golf every week of their lives? I am absolutely for that. Especially during a weekend that doesn’t have that much of an impact on the PGA Tour year.
This conduct could make golf seem a little less like a weekend hobby and more like an actual competitive sport. What would the NFL be like if no one ever said anything to try (but usually fail) to get under Tom Brady’s skin? Booorrrring.
Let the fans be true sports fans and hopefully that will bring out the personalities of these golfers. Adding an element like this to the game could produce heroes and villains that golf doesn’t have. Along with that, having louder, more rambunctious crowds could drive the sport into higher popularity.
So, if you’re looking for that post-season vibe that only the four major sports can offer, look no further. Gather your crew together and get out of the winter weather to come see the show at The Waste Management Open.