16 and Wild at the Phoenix Open
What a privilege to have full access to a professional sporting event, in fact the most attended tournament on the PGA tour. Today I started my internship at the WM Phoenix Open, the FedEx Cup. Although the official tournament doesn’t begin until Thursday, there has already been plenty of action for spectators. The Pro Am took place today, with lots of other fun promotions on Hole 16 aka “the party hole.”
- First – it is NOT your average golf round.
- The hole is surrounded by 15,000 spectator seats (the most of any on the PGA tour)
- It is notoriously known for fans rowdy behavior, noise levels which would be taboo on any other course.
- Tiger Woods hit a hole-in-one here the last time he played at this tournament
- This hole is iconic for its atmosphere – more like a football game, than golf.
- Skyboxes and Loge passes are $45,000-$150,000.
I began today by picking out my new set of wheels….
Just to set the stage a little bit. Scottsdale, Arizona is absolutely GORGEOUS. I had the pleasure of driving into Scottsdale during sunrise this morning, and the sky was cotton-candy colored while the mountains were a grey/purple. Cameras don’t to desert colors justice. The golf course is as prestigious as you would imagine from a nationally-televised sporting event. The holes have large stadium seats and skyboxes with elaborate buffets, desserts and coffees, and of course full bars throughout.
First let me mention that I have never played or watched a golf event unless mini golf at Fiesta Village counts. Even in my interview for this position, I straight-up admitted that I was not very familiar with golf. But I was excited about an opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes business aspect of a new sport! So my expectations for this Open were: very quiet crowds of people, lined around the course. Stuffy “golf claps.” Silly golf outfits.
Well….I was right about the outfits part. Golfers love their crazy pants. Exhibit A:
(Seeing how many pictures I took of other people’s pants today is making me concerned now.)
But the atmosphere of the spectators was far from stuffy or quiet. It was a 100,000 guest P-A-R-T-Y. The music was blasting, the drinks were flowing, the entertainment was constant. The “shot at glory” on Hole 16 was a treat! We stood in the skyboxes, looking down at professional athletes, businesspeople, and celebrities swing on the green. My personal highlights were Jake Owen, Larry Fitzgerald, and the tall cute guy from Lady Antebellum (I don’t know his real name…).
I watched Tiger putt on Hole 15 and fall apart on Hole 16. I learned who Phil Mickelson is, and apparently missed Tim Tebow autographs by a few minutes. I’m not a star-struck person, because when you see Tiger Woods in real life he just looks like a normal person. But it was pretty cool to have such an out-of-the-ordinary day (on a school day!) and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!