A Charitable Free-for-All


Simple question: Have you been to the FBR Open in person?
And while Im at it -- are you turned off by the thought of attending a tournament with on-course crowds hovering over 100,000 for the day on the weekend and a Birds Nest that allows for about 8,000 people to party until they cant do it any longer?
Ive been there and done that. And when asked the other day about those very questions while doing an interview on the radio, I said I was all for more of it on the PGA Tour.
The PGA Tour is actually in need of more events that border on the rowdy. Note that I said border. I am not, I repeat ' am not, an advocate of spectators going over the line during play.
But I also see no problem in a little hootin and hollerin once the ball is in the air.
Phil Mickelson began his week at the FBR Open, which hes trying to win for the third time, by saying that hes cautiously optimistic. Good choice of words, because every player tees it up with some degree of caution knowing that at any turn somebody might be ready to turn a peaceful hill at the TPC Scottsdale into a Margaritaville annex.
Still, Phil shot 60 last year on Friday, J.J. Henry fired a 61 this Friday, and Mark Calcavecchia set a scoring record a few years ago, which is proof that a little crowd support can go a long way.
And the thing that goes unnoticed about the FBR Open is its charitable efforts to the community.
This years Birds Nest has been expanded and the charge to get in for a little partying has gone from $15 to $20. The goal is to donate $100,000 from the proceeds to charity.
A few years ago, things got a little out of hand. Now, things are back in order and the focus is on fun and charity.
The FBR Open tournament committee reports that the tournament alone raised and donated more than $5.5 million last year.
Its just my opinion, but every event on the PGA Tour hopes to get Tiger Woods to tee it up. Given that it's just not going to happen, why not have some fun with or without him.
Saying that the FBR Open is known for huge crowds and raucous spectators is accurate. But its also known for some very good golf and an event that the players enjoy playing.
Sundays Super Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit will allow for a crowd of about 65,000. At the FBR Open, thats about 35,000 less than were on hand this Friday.
So before you dismiss this weeks PGA Tour stop as nothing more than a party, remember the charity, remember the goal of an enjoyable experience. Dont you like to go to a party where you said, I just had to be there'? Bring it on.
And lets help other events find the big fun. Believe me, your local PGA Tour event is trying.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann