No player attracts a larger audience than Tiger Woods.
No tournament attracts a larger audience than the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Imagine putting those two together. That has happened only four times in the last 20 years, and this won't be one of those occasions.
Woods has taken his talents to the Middle East to play in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The Phoenix Open is left with an expected 600,000 patrons to see some of the rising young stars in the game, from Jordan Spieth to Justin Thomas, from Hideki Matsuyama of Japan to Jon Rahm of Spain.
The Phoenix Open is known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," partly because the TPC Scottsdale has a stretch of closing holes as compelling as any on the PGA Tour, and mainly because there are so many fans and such a party atmosphere that the golf sometimes is an afterthought.
The biggest crowd is on Saturday. The biggest stage is the par-3 16th hole, which has been turned into its own stadium. This is where players are tested, even if they're not in contention. Miss a putt and the fans can be brutal, as Chris DiMarco found out in 2009. Make a putt, and players can become stars by their reaction. James Ha