WM Phoenix Open like a Super Bowl of golf

The WM Phoenix Open is not your typical golf tournament.

by Andrea Gussoni
WM Phoenix Open like a Super Bowl of golf
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Ehrmann / Staff

The WM Phoenix Open is not your typical golf tournament. Every year, the TPC Scottsdale in Phoenix, Arizona, transforms into a golf festival, a blend of Coachella and the Super Bowl. During the first week of February, coinciding with the Super Bowl, over 700,000 spectators flock to this course, which turns into a full-fledged stadium for the occasion.

The final holes are surrounded by grandstands, and at every turn, there's a bar ready to serve up a cold beer.

WM Phoenix Open, schedule

Last night, Nick Taylor won the tournament after a playoff, but as always, the real stars of the week were the fans.

Many show up in the stands with signs and quirky costumes, and alcohol flows freely from the early hours of the morning, so much so that on Saturday, organizers had to halt alcohol sales because "the crowd had become unruly." The symbol of this tournament, advertised as "The Greatest Show on Grass," is the 16th hole, the Stadium Hole.

This 150-meter par 3 is completely surrounded by grandstands and bleachers that can accommodate over 20,000 people. Even the players often embrace the festive atmosphere when they enter the stadium at the 16th hole: some wear jerseys of their favorite sports teams, others catch beers thrown from the stands, and many encourage the crowd to turn up the volume during their tee shots.

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in the state of Arizona. With 1,608,139 residents (as of 2020), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of over one million inhabitants.

Phoenix serves as the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area ranks twelfth in population in the United States, with approximately 4.9 million residents as of 2020.

Additionally, Phoenix is the county seat of Maricopa County and, at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km²), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.

Founded in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix was incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona in 1889. Situated in the northeastern part of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a desert climate.

Nevertheless, its canal system led to a thriving agricultural community, with many of the original crops remaining important parts of Phoenix's economy for decades, including alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (important for the livestock industry).

Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were locally known as the "five Cs" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when technology companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.

The city experienced an annual population growth rate of four percent over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 and saw a slow rebound. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the entire state.

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