The Follow-Through: More events should use Phoenix blueprint
By David Jordan, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - More professional golf tournaments should be like the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
I understand you can't have the raucous crowds at an event like the Masters, but there should be no reason there can't be more than one tournament a year that embraces the type of environment allowed at the Phoenix Open.
The fans seem to agree with me.
Last weekend saw a PGA Tour-record 563,008 fans attend the event, including a single-day record of 189,722 on Saturday.
It may not be the prototypical golf crowd, but how is that a bad thing for the sport? I thought the idea was to draw more fans.
The players also appeared to embrace the concept, as many brought souvenirs to throw into the crowd at the famous 16th hole.
Bubba Watson threw out signed visors to the crowd and Phil Mickelson took some time to toss some signed footballs from nearby Arizona State University, where his brother is the golf coach.
Ryan Palmer even went as far as dispensing $100 to the crowd. "I just thought it would be pretty cool to tell them to go have a beer on me," he said.
Mickelson, however, immediately regretted his antics, stating, "I think it's the last time I'm going to do that, because mentally I was thinking about throwing it a couple holes prior ... I thought it was going to be fun, and it kind of took away my focus."
But aside from that statement, the overall reaction from players seems to be positive.
So why not bring that type of atmosphere to some more events during the season?
If the players understand what they are getting into when they sign up for the event, I can't see what it could hurt.
An occasional fan may yell something in a player's backswing that could disrupt them, but that has happened at what you could call a "regular" event anyway.
I believe the benefits would outweigh the negatives by a large margin.
You could expand the game of golf to an audience that would never attend a tournament before and add a little excitement in the process.
Like I said before, you could not have this type of crowd at a major, but why not allow a more relaxed environment in maybe two more events during the season? Or have one such event in each of the tours?
It definitely plays well for television, and can only be a positive influence on a person who maybe had not had a previous interest in the sport.
Many people have the idea in their heads that golf is stuffy and boring. However, I'm sure if there were more than just one event a year that allows golf fans the freedom to vocally show the appreciation for their sport that other fans are allowed, they might change their minds.
Crowds are allowed to be boisterous and vocal at events like the Ryder Cup and LPGA's Solheim Cup, so why not allow it at a couple more events during the year?
Sounds like a win for all involved.
02/06 14:30:13 ET