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A Study in Contrasts- The Waste Management Open Golf Tournament

ticket to waste managment openWhat a contrast! I spent last Thursday at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix. It’s the largest golf tournament on the PGA tour. For me it was a study in contrasts.

Famous players like Bubba Watson did some great golfing. We watched Watson drain a spectacular putt to get an eagle on the fourth hole. Other high profile players like Tiger Woods did some terrible golfing. We watched Tiger on the same hole, make a bad chip from the rough into the thick grass at the edge of the green, and then miss a three- foot putt.

We witnessed the play of promising young golfers and seasoned professionals.   Phil Mickelson was paired with Rickie Fowler nearly twenty years his junior. We watched the two of them on the eighth hole where the elder Mickelson bested Fowler with a birdie.

We followed Canadian Mike Weir for a few holes. Some fans watching Mike were obviously proud to be Canadians. One man was wearing a shirt with a huge maple leaf on the back and pants featuring dozens of smaller maple leafs. Then there were the American fans behind us who joked when Mike’s shot landed in the desert rough, “His caddy must have given him the yardage in meters by mistake.”

Fifteen of the greens were hushed and quiet when players putted. But the Phoenix Open is famous for its sixteenth green where fans can make as much noise as they want. We heard cheers and jeers rising in waves from the 16th green.

On the 18th green we watched Pat Perez putt. He had eye-catching plaid pants, a round stomach and nearly shoulder- length curly hair. On the same hole we saw Camilo Villegas putt. He wore perfectly pressed black pants, had a washboard stomach and closely cropped hair.

 Some spectators at the tournament, like me, followed the strict rules posted everywhere about not taking photos. These rules were repeated by course marshals and flashed on the screens. Yet many golf fans were snapping countless pictures and making video recordings with the cameras on their phones. In fact I found out when I got home that Golf Digest was featuring Instagram photos taken by spectators at the Waste Management Open.

 The course at the Tournament Players Golf Club at Sawgrass where the tournament was held was beautifully groomed. The desert landscape was impeccably landscaped for the PGA event. But I noticed a whole flock of wild birds landing on one hole and the golfers had to do their best to navigate around them.

 The Waste Management Open gives over $6 million in prizes to players, some of whom are already quite wealthy, but it is also donates a percentage of profits to worthy philanthropic causes. Since its inception eighty years ago tournament organizers have distributed $86 million to Arizona charities. Knowing that made it a little easier to spend $10 on a pretzel and a cup of lemonade. The salespeople’s T-shirts made it clear they represented various community organizations and were working to raise money for them.

We saw players from places we have visited on our travels like Danny Lee from Rotorua, New Zealand, Gonzalo Fernandez Castano from Madrid, Spain and Brian Davis from London, England. We also saw players from places that are on our travel bucket list like Retief Goosen from South Africa, Padraig Harrington from Ireland and Martin Laird from Scotland.

I admit I went to the Phoenix Open primarily to keep my husband company but I ended up being quite engaged by the striking contrasts I observed at the tournament. I had an enjoyable day.

Other posts about golf…….

A Prayer for a Golf Tournament

Tight Security

The Hong Kong Open

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Tight Security

Last Thursday we spent the day at a PGA golf tournament here in Phoenix. We left early in the morning to attend the Waste Management Open at the famous Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass. You park your car in lots several miles from the actual course and buses ferry you to the tournament. Before you can board the bus however you need to go through security. No purses or backpacks are allowed. Anything you want to take into the tournament with you has to be put into a clear plastic bag. No cameras are permitted.
waiting in line for the Waste Management OpenWe had to empty our pockets as well and place everything in our plastic bags. Then before we boarded the buses it was arms up and we had electronic wands waved over us from top to bottom -front and back.
line up for Waste Managment OpenAlthough the security personnel were very competent we stood in line for a long while because last Thursday, the eighty year old tournament recorded its highest daily attendance ever.ticket to waste managment open
No one entered the front gates without their bar coded ticket tied to their outfit in some fashion.
I will write another blog post about our day at the Phoenix Open but just getting into the event was a story in itself.
Other posts about golf ………….

Golfing at an Old Hudson’s Bay Post

Seeing Rory McIlroy Up Close and Personal

Prayer for a Golf Tournament

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