The Phoenix Open, currently sponsored by Waste Management, is a PGA Tour event played annually in February at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
The five-day attendance of the tournament is usually around a half million spectators, making it the best-attended event in golf. The record was set in 2018, when 720,000 fans attended, including a record 216,818 for Saturday’s third round.
Experience the Par-3, 16th
The most popular location for spectators is the par-3 16th hole, nicknamed “The Coliseum.” At 162 yards, it is enclosed by a temporary 20,000-seat grandstand. The hole could be described as “one big party,” with many students from the nearby Arizona State University in Tempe in attendance. Poor shots at the 16th hole receive boos. Good shots, however, are cheered loudly.
Famous moments include Tiger Woods‘s Saturday hole-in-one in 1997, which caused the gallery to erupt, throwing cups and other objects in celebration, and Justin Leonard giving the finger to the gallery after a poor shot. Jarrod Lyle aced the hole on Saturday in 2011, causing the stands to erupt in excitement.
Sam Ryder repeated the feat on Saturday, February 12, 2022, with the same response from the fans in attendance. Play was then held up to clear away the beer cans, cups and other items that were thrown by the fans in celebration.
The Breakfast Club
A group, nicknamed “The Breakfast Club,” lines up at the entrance as early as 4:30 a.m. daily and when gates open at 7 am, the “Race to the 16th” is on as they sprint a half-mile to the famous 16th hole grandstands.Overall the Phoenix Open has undoubtedly set a high standard of engaging with the local community, adding value to fan experience and marketing the event year round – many lessons to be learned for professional tournaments in India and elsewhere.