SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The WM Phoenix Open got a very early start on Saturday.
The greatest fans in golf lined up for hours waiting for gates to open and then a flood of them rushed in.
The sprint to the 16th hole is a chaotic Saturday tradition as the Phoenix Open historically has the highest attendance on Saturdays.
Thousands of fans stood under the Hayden Bridge waiting to be let in at 6:45 a.m. The first person in line said he got there at 2:30 a.m.
"I'm 58 years old so I'm surprised I'm the first one here but I've done it four times and this is why we come here, for this very moment," he said.
The sprint looked different compared to years past. To ensure safety, the mosh-pit-style run was a little more controlled.
Here's a list of the biggest changes this Saturday:
- Fans were corralled under the Hayden Bridge
- Fans were released in waves, directed to follow the directional signs to the 16th hole (up the 18th hole cart part, past 17th over to the 16th hole)
- There was just one direction/path to get to 16
- Almost everyone was guaranteed a seat, so people were encouraged not to run or dash
- Scottsdale PD and PRO EM were on hand to assist and guide
The highly anticipated event started on Monday, Feb. 7 and will end on Sunday, Feb 13.
The Scottsdale Fire Department offered some safety tips to ensure everyone has fun at the tournament.
- 1. Stay hydrated - Get ahead of the game, start drinking water the day before you come out. Then when you're out here having a few beverages maybe mix water in between each
- 2. Protect yourself from that Arizona sun - Definitely wear and bring sunscreen
- 3. Ditch the heels - Wear comfortable shoes. There are a lot of uneven surfaces out here and cracks in the sidewalks.
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