What a week! If you’ve never been to the Waste Management Phoenix Open you HAVE to add it to your bucket list. A sporting event like non other, for golf fans and non-golf fans alike. It was my first weekend at the event and boy did it live up to the hype.
If you aren’t totally in the loop about what the WMPO is all about, just Google it haha. One of the biggest parties in sports with the loudest hole in golf – a par 3 completely enclosed by stadium seating – the 16th at TPC Scottsdale is a sight to see.
It’s no secret, the fans get rowdy. Shoot, we had a streaker on the course on Wednesday before tournament play even got started! So when I was given my assignment to cover the 16th in all its glory, by interviewing the rowdy fans on live television my only response was: “I’m not responsible for what might happen.”
Overall, the fans were respectful, but rowdy and I had a great time interacting with them. From their clever (and sometimes inappropriate) costumes, to their fun chants I heard and saw things I’ve never seen at a golf tournament before. To give you a glimpse at what I experienced, several times the fans began chanting my name as I walked by the cheering sections to get to my post for my live segment. That’s definitely a first for me.
— Teryn Schaefer (@TerynS_PGATOUR) February 3, 2018
Fans come from all over just to experience this. I interviewed international fans, met some Mizzou fans who began chanting “MIZ” at me and I even ran into fans from my small hometown in Southern Illinois because I started hearing “Waterloo” chants so they could get my attention. Yeah, pretty nuts!
I had a lot of people ask me what day they should come to the tournament, if they could only attend one. My response: it depends if you can tolerate crowds. Saturday is a sight to see. More than 216,000 fans came out that day. It’s very crowded and if you want to guarantee yourself a seat in the bleachers, you have to get in line before the sun comes up. This year they officially termed that crowd “The Breakfast Club” and handed out breakfast sandwiches, waters and t-shirts to the several thousand that came out to secure their spot more than 4 hours before they saw a golf shot.
That might sound crazy, but they entertained themselves with chants. And the tournament brought out music and a DJ to keep the crowd pumped as they waited. They even all broke out in “Sweet Caroline” before the Golf Channel kicked off its live broadcast.
Sunday was pretty great though too. It was a lot more laid back but still plenty of people out to party and see the win.
One of my personal favorite days still remains to be the Wednesday Celebrity Pro-Am. Big names from Michael Phelps, to Aaron Rodgers, Emmitt Smith, Larry Fitzgerald and Jake Owen – you name it. And as a fan you can get up close and even watch them take a crack at the infamous 16th tee shot.
After experiencing the early week of the tournament last year and due to how brief my visit was – I knew I had to make it out to Camelback Mountain this time around. As you saw last week, I’m a big fan of scenic hikes so Camelback was on my bucket list. I’m so glad I did it! It was incredible!
This isn’t necessarily a leisurely hike, but don’t let me scare you away, though. You can do it! Just be prepared to climb up and down rocks on some steep hills. Though it can be scary at times it’s a wonderful challenge that rewards you with spectacular views and a sense of accomplishment.
Aside from some of the events at Topgolf and the Birds Nest – hiking Camelback was a highlight for me.
Speaking of the Birds Nest – another added benefit of going to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, you can just walk right across the street to their annual concert venue to watch big names take the stage. On Friday night, 10,000 people attended the Florida-Georgia Line concert! This St. Louis girl’s personal favorite? Nelly! He played on Saturday night and ended my trip with a bang.
Have you ever been to the Waste Management Phoenix Open? Or is it on your bucket list? Comment below or share with me on Instagram!