As most of the United States sits through another tough January weekend, the PGA Tour commences with a weeklong party in the desert. And while I wish I could be there to attend in person, it is a lot of fun to watch on TV. Let’s take a look at why this tournament seems to be a tick above the rest of the events on tour.
Location, Location, Location: It is tough to beat the weather in Scottsdale at this time of year. For the most part, this event is played under sunny skies.
Course: The TPC Scottsdale may not be an architectural gem, but it is set up to produce drama. The back nine is full of opportunity and that makes for some dramatic and compelling television. The thirteenth, fifteenth and seventeenth are holes where eagle is not out of the question. At this event, players have the chance to make up a number of strokes in a really short amount of time. Also, should a player get loose with their swing, there is a lot of water to compound mistakes. They may not write books about this course and its routing, but it is a fun place to watch golf.
Atmosphere: Let’s face, more is not always better. At some events, including majors, the number of tickets sold is limited. The purpose is to provide an enjoyable atmosphere for those who have the tickets. At Scottsdale, that idea is trashed…well ok, recycled. They pack in hundreds of thousands of people per day at this event, and it works. The infrastructure and build out for this event rivals those at major championships, and while the attendance numbers are staggering, most people can find a spot to watch golf. This is a unique event, at the Thunderbirds have embraced their role. This event is different, and that is awesome.
Sponsor: Let’s face it, none of this works without some cash to get the ball rolling. Waste management has embraced this event and come up with some creative initiatives while hosting. All great tournaments seem to have a solid corporate partnership, and this one is no exception.
For these reasons and some others, this event is one that I always enjoy watching. It is fun, and despite CBS trying to bore us to death on the airways with analysis, the coverage and views are always refreshing. The drama on the back nine, the loud and rowdy crowds, and the usually bunched leaderboard always make for good viewing. I wish more PGA Tour events would embrace their uniqueness. It works in Scottsdale and it should work in other places as well.