There was an outbreak of the Corona-virus on Saturday at TPC Scottsdale, though no experts from the Centers for Disease Control were needed to determine its origin. This is an annual epidemic — fueled by barley, hops and yeast — that transforms normally prudent citizens into drooling cretins and the normally staid PGA Tour into a rollicking party.
The festivities begin at 7 a.m. when the gates open to a stampede that rivals any Walmart on Black Friday. But instead of dashing for discounted flat screen televisions, this excited crowd sprints to grab a coveted spot at the 16th hole, and it’s the most thrilling competitive charge you’ll see on a golf course this side of a Sunday afternoon in Augusta, Georgia.
Each year, Saturdays at the Waste Management Phoenix Open dawn with buoyant spirits. And each year it ends in a sorry mess of tipsy antics and failed bladder control.
It’s hard to avoid Golf Bro these days. He’s at every PGA Tour event, usually carrying more beer than brain cells, and always possessed of a garrulous self-regard while destitute of self-awareness.
If you’re not fortunate enough to attend a tournament to hear Golf Bro holler his witticisms in person, fear not, for he pollutes the airwaves as enthusiastically he does the fairways. When did you last enjoy a broadcast without shots being punctuated with cries of “Baba Booey” or “Mashed Potato?” Those well-worn phrases are seemingly akin to reciting Shakespeare for the sloshed.
One year during the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Kenny Perry went to get a haircut, during which the stylist asked why he was in town. “I’m playing in the golf tournament,” Perry said.
“I love the golf event,” she replied enthusiastically. “I go every night.”
There is much to admire about the WMPO in daylight hours, too. It has raised more than $120 million for charity and every year draws more fans than any other PGA Tour stop – 655,434 in 2017. But some other statistics aren’t so admirable.