By Seth Humeniuk
The PGA Tour has a reputation of being a little stuffy, but fans at the WM Phoenix Open bring a different energy to the sport. In Phoenix, fans drink heavily, cheer heartily and boo emphatically. They do their best to make golf a party for all involved.
Narration: AUGUSTA, PEBBLE BEACH AND ST. ANDREWS. THESE ARE THE COURSES FANS THINK OF WHEN THEY THINK GOLF AND THEY CARRY WITH THEM AN IMAGE OF A CERTAIN ETIQUETTE. OF FANS WHO STAND SILENTLY AND CHEER QUIETLY FOR THEIR FAVORITE GOLFER. BUT THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE IN PHOENIX
(Fans cheering on 16th hole)
Narration: THE WM PHOENIX OPEN HAS A REPUTATION FOR BEING THE LOUDEST, ROWDIEST EVENT ON THE PGA TOUR.
Fan: I would say invigorating, fun for whole family, and pardon my language, but a total sh*t show.
Narration: FANS SHOW UP BEFORE DAWN AND RUSH THE GATES TO GET IN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Fans: “Spring break baby!”
Narration: THE PARTY STARTS THE SECOND FANS WALK THROUGH THE DOOR AND KEEPS GOING ALL DAY LONG. NOT EVEN REPORTERS CAN ESCAPE THE CHAOS.
Fan: “Hi! I’m Hailey, from Arizona, and you’re watching Disney Channel!”
Narration: ON THE ROWDIEST COURSE IN GOLF, THE SIXTEENTH HOLE STANDS OUT AS THE WILDEST.
Narration: FANS CHEER.
Narration: AND BOO…
Narration: UNLIKE ANYWHERE ELSE ON TOUR.
Vendor: “Oh yeah, I ain’t gonna screw you like that.”
Narration: THE NONSTOP PARTY ATMOSPHERE HAS MADE THE OPEN A MUST-SEE EVENT, BOTH FOR FANS OF GOLF…
Fans: “This is the best golf tournament in the entire world… yeah this is a bucket list golf tournament.”
Narration: …AND FANS OF A GOOD TIME.
Fans: “We’re here to drink some beer and watch some golf!!”
Narration: WHILE SOME TURN THEIR NOSES UP AT THE INSANITY OF THE EVENT, OTHERS THINK IT’S GOOD FOR THE GAME.
Fans: “I think it’s bringing youth, into golf–golf is stuck up!… It got a little bit stuffy, everyone’s an old man. Now, it’s bringing life.”
Narration: THE PHOENIX EXPERIENCE CAN BE DIFFICULT FOR SOME PLAYERS, BUT OTHERS FEED OFF THE FAN’S ENERGY.
Sam Ryder: “There’s nothing really compares to the energy that’s in here. You know. It’s like… You just gotta embrace it.”
Narration: OFFICALLY, THIS IS EVENT IS KNOWN AS THE WM PHOENIX OPEN. BUT FOR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF FANS, IT’S THE PEOPLE’S OPEN. REPORTING FROM SCOTTSDALE, SETH HUMENIUK, MEDILL REPORTS.
Seth Humeniuk is a video and broadcast graduate student at Medill, you can follow him on Twitter @seth_humeniuk