photo credit: Waste Management Phoenix Open
The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open is set to start on Thursday, February 1, at the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale. The event is the best attended event of the PGA Tour, with a weekly attendance averaging around 500,000. The event is known for a relatively boisterous atmosphere (for a golf tournament) and is one reason why the Phoenix Open is known as the “Greatest Show on Grass”. This tournament consistently brings the biggest names in the sport to enjoy the mild central Arizona winter and the pristine course.
Schedule of Events
While the tournament proper begins Thursday, spectators can enjoy watching golf throughout the week. PGA Tour professionals play practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday. These practice rounds are open to the public and often provide the best time to request autographs as golfers are more relaxed in the non-tournament environment. In addition, Tuesday features the R.S. Hoyt Jr. Family Foundation Dream Day Activities including a trick shot show and a junior golf clinic sponsored by Ping. On Wednesday, spectators are treated to the Annexus Pro-Am. This Pro-Am serves as a warm up to the proper tournament and often contains celebrities playing with PGA Tour professionals. Confirmed celebrities include country star Dierks Bentley, NFL Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and John Elway, Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher wide Archie Bradley. The tournament kicks off with the first round at 7:30 am Thursday morning with a field of over 130 golfers including two-time defending champion Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and the legendary Phil Mickelson. The second round will begin Friday at 7:30 am, with the third round beginning at 9:00 am Saturday and the final round beginning 9:00 am Sunday.
Tickets are available through the official Waste Management Phoenix Open website. Monday and Tuesday offer free admission to anyone to watch practice rounds. General Admission is $40 for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and $50 for Friday and Saturday. Minors are free when accompanied by an adult. In addition, all first responders and active, reserve and retired military get free admission for themselves and one guest. Outside of daily general admission, weekly packages are also available including various packages to give spectators access to exclusive viewing areas and amenities.
There are essentially two ways to view the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The first is to pick a single hole and watch the entire field play that hole. This style, known as “parade style”, allows spectators the luxury of comfortably seeing all of their favorite golfers. Conversely, the “cross-country style” of enjoying the tournament involves following a particular player or group around all 18 holes. It is best to know how you want to view the tournament before you arrive at the course. If you plan on a cross-country style of viewing, be sure and pick up a daily pairing sheet or check PGATour.com to know when and where the golfers are teeing off.
Regardless of how you plan to watch the action, be sure and have some basic necessities. The desert environment will remain cool in the morning hours, gradually warming up. For this reason, dressing in layers is recommended. In addition, sunscreen and a hat are necessary once the full force of the sun comes into play. You should also pack comfortable shoes and a pair of binoculars to allow you to closely see the action. You might also consider bringing your own collapsible chair if you plan to watch the tournament parade-style. Just remember that chair bags are not allowed so leave the bag in the car. Concessions are available throughout the course, including lunch and dinner options at the Fan Zone.
For fans that are unable to make the trek to Phoenix, the tournament will be broadcast on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday and CBS on Saturday and Sunday. Radio coverage will be provided by Siruis/XM Satellite Radio throughout the tournament.
The most famous hole for spectators is the par-3 16th hole, dubbed "the Coliseum". The entire hole is surrounded by stands, making it the only fully enclosed hole on the entire PGA Tour. The grandstands have a capacity of 20,000 and are often full. The hole is famous for the level of crowd response, with shots to the green as well as birdie putts greeted with loud cheering. In addition, wild shots are often booed. If you plan on watching the 16th hole, be sure and arrive early as seats go fast.