The FBR/Phoenix PGA Open

Trip Start Jan 08, 2008
Trip End Apr 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, February 2, 2008

When I first arrived in Phoenix and heard talk of the FBR, my reaction was "What is the FBR?".  Well I am not sure I learned what FBR really stands for but I did find out that one of the most exciting and well attended PGA Golf Tournaments anywhere was happening just down the road from where we are staying.  In fact only about 15 minutes east in Scottsdale.

The FBR/Phoenix Open is held at the TPC Stadium Golf Course, part of a much larger golf complex in Scottsdale.  Advertised as the 'Greatest Show on Grass' and one of the longest running PGA Tournaments in the US, this weeklong event is organized and run by a non-profit organization called the Thunderbirds that consists of thousands of volunteers.  The event draws over 500,000 spectators and raised more than 46 million dollars for charities this year alone.

Diane and I went to the third round on Saturday.   It has been very cool with frost on the course earlier in this week and play was delayed every morning. But Saturday was a warm sunny day and a perfect day to watch my first PGA golf tournament.  Little did I know what to expect and of course we picked the day that 173,000 other people decided to go as well.  Parking was easy, we only stood in line 15 minutes waiting for a shuttle bus and before we knew it we were through the gates and onto the course.  It took a while to get our bearings but, once we had the schedule of players and their location on the course, we were off like pros.  First I wanted to see where Mike Weir was on the course and did watch him at the 13 and again at the 15 green.  He and a Pro from Bellville ( I can't recall his name) seemed to be the Canadian contingent and there were several golfers from Australia.  Although I thought that Mike did a very credible job while I was watching, it became obvious that he was well down the pack.  So we went looking for Holmes and Mickleson.  This turned out to be not an easy task.  It became obvious that it was better to pick a spot and let the players come to us.  The 16th hole was closest, so we joined some 15,000 other people standing and sitting in bleachers around this par 3 hole.  This 16th hole is undisputably the most notorious hole in golf.  It was as though we had suddenly stumbled across a gathering of football or hockey fans (as many as you would find at most Senator games!).  When someone had a good drive onto the green , there was loud cheering but if a player happened to make a poor shot even louder boos and cat calls were made.  It was enough to test the metal of any player.  In fact I understand that the great Tiger himself refuses to play the FBR mostly because of being booed on the 16th a few years ago.  But then Tiger was away this year winning the Tournament in Dubai. We finished off the day watching some great drives and puts on the 18th.  

I completely worn Diane out dragging here around the course although I believed she enjoyed  herself.  I enjoyed myself so much that I intended to go back for the four round on Sunday with Scott.  But Sunday was much colder and threatened rain. Although it did hold off until the tournament ended I chickened out and watched Mickelson and Holmes battle it out on TV.  Thus ended another adventure in Arizona.  Sorry, no pictures.  No cameras were allowed on the grounds.
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