SCOTTSDALE – Saturday is “see and be seen” day at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Costumes, high heels, wild outfits … it’s certainly unlike any other tournament on TOUR. The pricey 200+ Skyboxes at No. 16 were empty at sunrise, but the bleachers were already crammed to capacity by 7:30. The chants of “Chug! Chug! Chug!” and “USA! USA! USA!”versus the European “Ole! Ole! Ole!” battled for dominance for more than two hours first group came to the tee.
The attendance of 204,906 broke last year’s Saturday record of 201,003. This brings the total attendance for the week to an astounding 596,780. Just 21,585 fans are needed on Sunday to break 2016’s week-long total attendance record of 618,365. Sunday attendance has never been below 23,650 (1991) in the 26 years daily attendance has been recorded. The crush of humanity from holes 16-18 is claustrophobic and dangerous at time, begging the question of whether the tournament at some point should consider capping attendance for safety reasons.
The tournament’s seventh annual GREEN OUT raised $100,000 for three non-profit environmental organizations in the Valley. For every person who wore GREEN to the tournament on Saturday, The Thunderbirds will donate $33,333 each to Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s “Change the Course,” Arizona Recycling Coalition and the Arizona Chapter of Solid Waste Association of North America (AZ SWANA). According to the Waste Management Phoenix Open’s ‘Green Squad,’ nearly half of Saturday’s crowd of fans and PGA TOUR pros donned GREEN gear.
ASU grad Jon Rahm, donned his Rahmbo jersey on No. 16, with the #42 in tribute to ASU grad and former pro football player turned military hero, Pat Tillman. The partisan crowd went crazy when he birdied the hole.
“To be able to hit a close one there for the fans, it was fun. Just to drop the putt, it makes it a lot more fun. It’s so great to know I have so many people pulling for me.
Highlight of the day – As mentioned in a previous post, Andrew “Beef” Johnston endeared himself to fans by giving out Arby’s curly fries headcovers. This reporter was able to obtain one of the prized headcovers and can attest that it is indeed weird, unusual, and priceless.
Jon Rahm at No. 16
Jon Rahm post-round
Phil Mickelson, who shot a 65 to put him at -10, on what he has to do Sunday: