– By Kenneth Kaltz –
The golf world has been mocked for decades for being too slow, too boring, and mostly, too quiet. Young people turn their noses up to the thought of watching someone chase a little white ball around a field for hours at a time. Quite frankly, I can’t blame them. For anyone who has never experienced the game, it would come off as very lousy. Golf needs a facelift for its viewers, and tournament officials in Phoenix have devised a perfect concoction of noise, excitement, and action. This is the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course, nicknamed “The Loudest Hole in Golf.”
When players commit to play in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, they know exactly what to expect during the tournament. The player’s first 15 holes will be like any other event; then, they must walk through an ominous tunnel to the 16th tee. There, they will be greeted by 3,400 fans seated in grandstands that surround the par 3. Players embrace the party that is going on around them. Last Sunday, whilst in contention to win the tournament, Bubba Watson hit his tee ball onto the green. He then proceeded to pull a Marshawn Lynch Seahawks jersey from his bag, put it on, and gave some lucky fans free Oakley goggles. In 1997, a young Tiger Woods hit a hole-in-one on the famed hole, arousing a thunderous ovation from fans in attendance. Many tossed their beverages onto the course, and Tiger responded with a “raise the roof” motion, celebrating his amazing accomplishment. Needless to say, the hole is healthy for the sport.
Events across the nation should learn from the Phoenix Open. With record breaking attendance and player excitement, one would believe other tournaments would attempt to emulate the wild environment. Of course, some tournaments, such as the Masters, would like to remain as “to the book” as possible. Otherwise, let’s have some fun, PGA fans. Let’s embrace a new culture on the course.