During the beginning of the Saturday broadcast of the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, CBS TV did a cool thing. They allowed commentator and former Tour player and winner, Gary McCord to enlighten us all on just how the TPC Scottsdale course and it’s now notoriously crazy par 3 16th hole came about some 30+ years ago.
As Phil Mickelson’s group had played their tee balls, McCord took over the commentary while standing down near the tee of the 16th with a rover wireless mic and like a speaker leading a lecture, told the tale of how a piece of land in the Northern Arizona desert, could become such a bonkers attended event every year.
McCord began with, “there are 275 corporate boxes on this hole. 2 hundred 75. They are thinking we are going to get 250,000 people here today….more than 600,000 for the week. That’s more people than live in Milwaukee, WI. Are you kidding, me?!”
“I remember 1983….I was on the policy board as a player, and Dean Beman (the PGA Tour Commissioner at the time) said ‘I want you to come look at some property that we have bought, for a dollar.”
“We stood on a burr over there and looked 50 yards across this way (motioning across the 16th tee box) and there was nothing there. Nothing. Tumble weeds. Wild pigs and lizards. That’s it. I went back and made a presentation to the board. ‘Dean Beaman are you nuts?….We’re playing Phoenix Country Club in the middle of the town. We’re going to come out here and no one is going to show up.”
Then, he threw the coverage back to CBS lead anchor Jim Nantz, and McCord finished with, “We’re going to have 650,000 people here. I am soothsayer, aren’t I, Jim Nantz?!”
It is truly amazing how many people flock to this event, especially when you consider that most non-major PGA Tour events do well to have 200,000 people attend in a given week.
[graphiq id=”aaXRwuz5Ymp” title=”TPC at Scottsdale” width=”800″ height=”810″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/aaXRwuz5Ymp” ]
So, for the final time Sunday (for another year) they will funnel through the gates in Scottsdale to see who is crowned the 2017 champion mid-Sunday afternoon Mountain Time. Oh, that little Super Bowl game and it’s viewing parties will have an effect on the Sunday crowd, somewhat, too. Still, it’s staggering to contemplate the fun, party, “must attend” status that the Waste Management Phoenix Open has become.
And the PGA Tour bought the land for $1.