This week, all eyes will be turned toward the 81st playing of the Phoenix Open, beginning Thursday, February 4th for the First Round at the TPC Scottsdale, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
If you are a golfer (or golf fan), this is the event for you! Attendance last year set a record at 564,368 people. Tickets for the special events happening Monday and Tuesday are free; Wednesday and Thursday (First and Second Rounds) are $30; Friday and Saturday (Third and Fourth Rounds) are $40.
Many of the local businesses house “tents” at choice locations along the course where customers/clients are invited to watch the golfers play through. The law firm where I work hosts one at the 16th Hole — a popular location because of its amphitheater effect. It’s an easy hole, so not doing well draws instant “boos” from the crowd; whereas, great shots receive loud and long cheers!
The event is a prestigious one, with roots dating back to 1937 when a group known as “The Thunderbirds” came together to promote the Valley of the Sun through sports. Today, this group has 55 “active” members and 250 “life” members.
Besides the business of playing golf, what few know is The Thunderbirds raised $9,060,731 for local charities at last year’s event — the highest single-year charitable donation in tournament history! Since 2010, this outstanding group has raised more than $36,372,368 for charities. It is staggering (and sobering) to think of how many lives have been not just touched, but profoundly changed, by the work of these dedicated people.
The roster’s not yet complete, but look for well-knowns like Zach Johnson and Jan Poulter — and this year a special waiver allows Florida State junior, Jack McGuire, to play. All of them will be in the hunt for the $6.5 million-dollar purse.
We should be looking good, with weather forecasted at 6 to 9 mph wind, zero chance of rain, clear skies and the temperatures ranging from 56 to 58 degrees. Doesn’t get any better than that for great golf.
So, see you there, or see you later, at the end-of-each-day celebration tent called “The Bird’s Nest.” Should be fun either way!