Last year was such a good one for Scottie Scheffler that he fig'd he'd just go ahead and start this year the exact same way, winning the loudest golf tournament on the PGA Tour (or any tour for that matter!) Scottie and his wife, Amy, embraced on 18 in what has quickly become a familiar scene on the PGA Tour. Scottie now has 5 professional wins including last year's Masters and it doesn't appear he's going to fall off this golf season.
The Waste Management Open (WMPO) is an unparalleled golf event that welcomed over 300,000 spectators to TPC Scottsdale. The fact that Superbowl 57 was taking place in the same city only added to the celebrity sightings, the massive crowds, and unrivaled energy that was evident, even as I watched this year on tv.
A few years ago, I was able to attend the WMPO in what seemed like the last event before the world closed for Covid-19. I arrived there on Tuesday and went immediately to the course to see the grounds. The facility is spectacular! A challenging desert golf course with rocks and harsh terrain surrounding the remarkably green fairways and greens. TPC starts off very similar to a "normal" golf course but as the round progresses through holes 10-13, the buildup is palpable. Golfers start to hear roars from a ruckus 16th fan base and cheers, or boos are most definitely on the agenda for every golfer that passes through.
"Which will it be? What's my fate today?" ..every golfer wonders these thoughts, even as they play the boisterous 14th and 15th and make their way into a 3 story stadium for their center stage moment.. and then it arrives..
Most of us will never experience such a unique tee shot in golf. The murmurs as the golfer practice swings.. every fan is in their own conversations, making bets with a neighbor, talkin smack to the golfer or just building up the moment: The golfer approaches his tee ball, takes his aim and the crowd goes silent... Whack!
The response is immediate, and the crowd can be brutal if the tee shot was poor, sometimes even if the tee shot wasn't poor. This is the most unique crowd in golf. Dozens of dudes dressed alike, in full costumes, face paint, branded overalls, nothing is out of the realm of possibilities here. Loud noises, boos, jeers, insults, ex-wife comments, they are all good on this hole. And this crowd is relentless in their efforts to dig up the dirt on every golfer that comes through.
It has to be experienced at least once but I think I'll be taking Tas-Tee there again next year. Congrats to Scottie Scheffler for pulling in a massive $3.6M for first place this year, a figure that more than doubled from his win last year ($1.47M). Woohoo!