Phoenix Open offers more than just golf

As the Waste Management Phoenix Open approaches, the sight of people wearing Rickie Fowler’s signature neon Puma gear and the roar of the crowd coming from the 16th hole also follows.

The loudest crowd eruption did not come from the 16th hole last year, but rather on the 18th hole on the final day of the tournament.

The 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open was capped off by a wild ending as Kyle Stanley charged from a six-stroke deficit to snatch the victory out from Ben Crane’s grasp to win by one stroke.

With the star-studded field in 2013, the tournament promises to be no less exciting than last year’s nail biter.

The tournament is to be played at par-71 TPC Scottsdale, which runs longer than 7,000 yards.

The Phoenix Open will be visited by 124 PGA TOUR pros like hometown hero, and former Sun Devil, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson.

Of course, Tiger Woods, Monday’s winner of the Farmer’s Insurance Open in San Diego, will not be making a top in Phoenix, once again.

 

For the fans

Before the tournament’s start on Thursday, the course plays host to fun events throughout the week.

The Annexus pro-am on Wednesday will give stars from other walks of life the chance to play the course and fans the opportunity to watch them.

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, country singer Dierks Bentley, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, ex-Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, MLB all-star Ken Griffey Jr., NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip, as well as Diamondbacks players Aaron Hill and Ian Kennedy are scheduled to play in the pro-am that’s set to tee-off at 8:30 a.m.

 

The party hole

As Thursday rolls around, audiences will begin packing into the grandstands surrounding the 16th hole.

The 162-yard, par-3 hole offers a rowdy atmosphere for spectators looking to get one of the unique experiences for golf fans around the country.

The 16th hole features a 20,000-seat structure confining the fairway and around the green that allows onlookers to root golfer’s caddy as they hustle from the tee box to the fringe of the green.

Aside from pure golf action, the open also has fun entertainment scheduled via live musical act from Wednesday through Saturday nights at the Birds Nest Entertainment Tent.

Country star Dierks Bentley and rock band O.A.R. highlight Friday and Saturday night’s shows at the concert venue.

 

Projections

This year’s open holds a $6.2 million purse to be split up between the contest’s top finishers.

Kyle Stanley is looking to repeat as champion while Keegan Bradley is the favorite to win with 40 to 1 odds, according to CBSsports.com.

 

Reach the reporter at adrian.martinez.1@asu.edu