Why not apply Phoenix model to other tourneys?

By Jason SobelFebruary 4, 2012, 11:07 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – It’s time for a little lesson in Business 101.

Let's say you and a buddy each own similar companies. You sell similar products and maintain similar bottom-line goals, but you're located in different states, so not only is there no competition, you can assist each other in business secrets so that both may thrive.

Your business is doing well. Steady stream of customers who seem pleased with the product and service. Good enough. But great?

Not when compared with your buddy.

His business is booming. Long line of customers out the front door, all of whom seem to be celebrating their mere presence at his location. Your good is his great.

Now let me ask you: Why haven't you copied this business model yet?

It’s a question that can and should be posed to officials for tournaments across the PGA Tour schedule after yet another hugely attended Waste Management Phoenix Open this week.

How huge? In the first five days of tourney week, attendance reached 286,605 – and that was before the weekend rounds even started. With Saturday annually outperforming all other days before a comparative lull on Super Bowl Sunday, that number could reach a half-million by the end of the week.

Though the PGA Tour doesn’t publish attendance figures from other events, it can be presumed that the WMPO final number is two, three or even five times larger than those of every other PGA Tour-sanctioned tourney on the schedule.

Granted, success isn’t determined by attendance figures alone – most tourneys likely don’t have the infrastructure to handle 500,000 spectators even if that was a possibility – but there aren’t many tournament directors who would turn down increased support for their events.

And that’s exactly what this one has become. Not just a tournament, but an event. The famed 16th hole has gained notoriety for playing host to as many as 20,000 fans at any given time, earning a reputation as the most raucous party in golf.

Well, on-course party, at least. After hours, the carnival heads across the street to a temporary nightclub known as the Birds Nest, where artists such as Will.I.Am and the Goo Goo Dolls performed this past week. It’s not exactly your mashie, niblick and balata crowd.

Former champion Kenny Perry often tells a story about meeting a local hairdresser and asking if she attends the festivities. 'Oh, we love the Phoenix Open,” she exclaimed. “We go every night!' Perry had to explain that there’s actually a golf aspect to the week, too.

That doesn’t mean other events’ thinktanks must propose on-course drinktanks. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is often known as Wasted Management – hey, there are even T-shirts employing the phrase – but fellow tournaments can simply use this one as a blueprint for garnering more attention.

“I wouldn't characterize it in terms of the number of fans, but certainly the integration of the communication with the tournament that results in a robust marketing of the tournament, absolutely,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said this week. “The result of that is a higher percentage of businesses in each of those communities get involved in the tournament. Businesses buy packages, packages have tickets, tickets get distributed, crowds are enhanced as well as financial support.

“Those are models that we share with and work with other tournaments on.  Every market is different, by the way, in that regard.  But yeah, over the last five years we've made a concentrated effort to grow that integration.  … To see the kind of robust sales that are incurred here is an indication of what can happen with hard work and the right people doing the right things, so it is a very good model.”

This tournament may not be everything that’s right with golf, but it is bringing more people to the game – even if they’re viewing it through beer goggles.

It shouldn’t stop with this local community, either. There’s no reason officials from other PGA Tour stops can’t employ similar tactics in order to truly turn their tournaments into events.

Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that others must adopt the same raucous personality as the WMPO. Ask the professionals and some love the disposition of this event, some hate it and the majority think it’s fine for one tournament per year.

That said, creative strategies can be used to bring more interest to other individual communities. The more people through the front gates, the more people becoming interested in the game, the more the game grows.

Hey, it’s just simple Business 101.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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