The People’s Open
We were heading to the Waste Management Phoenix Open media day and our neighbor said, “Tell them they should change that name. Nobody wants to hear about waste.” She is not a golfer and although she has heard that this is a very big party, she has no idea. Nobody does until they actually experience in person the greatest show on grass, now referred to as “The People’s Open.” The Waste Management Phoenix Open, Presented by Ak Chin is attended by over 600,000 fans, many of whom do not care the least about golf and guess what? There is no waste at all. Waste Management recycles every bit of refuse. That’s pretty impressive. Also impressive is the immaculate course condition.
The most famous hole is the par 3 16th with a full circle arena holding up to 20,000, the rowdiest crowd on the tournament circuit. Golfers understand that they must par or birdie or be booed. Proper etiquette is required for the other 17 holes but it’s a circus everywhere, especially when many are schmoozing and boozing in corporate tents or the public bars. Reminders are made to respect the fans, respect the game, and respect the pros.
After golf the Birds’ Nest hosts headliners such as Toby Keith, the Band Perry and Jake Owen. Buy tickets early or you’ll miss out. Don’t despair if you do, there are plenty of entertainment venues around town and the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess next door has several classy bars and restaurants to carry on. It is also the most convenient place for an upscale stay. There are many great hotels, timeshares, VRBOs and Airbnbs in the area. A short drive away is the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. Play 27 holes there with carts, Golf Boards, Golf Bikes or Segways. At sunset the bagpiper calls golfers in to the 19th hole.
Over 300 courses await golfers in the valley of the sun when not enjoying the tournament. Waste Management Phoenix Open should be on the same bucket list for golfers as the Masters but for very different reasons – a major party with celebrities like Mark Wahlberg (Boston Strong Patriots’ Day actor and Patriots’ biggest fan invited by Bubba Watson) and yes, great golf.