Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

Waste Management Phoenix Open shatters first round attendance records

Email this story
Print this story

“Holy cow, you can’t move out here!” Retta Fasbender exclaimed.

She stood atop a hill overlooking the pathway between the 11th, 12th and 16th holes as a sea of brightly clad spectators shuffled in all directions to see their favorite players during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Fasbender has attended the first round the last three years to watch her nephew who is a caddie. “They’ve never had this kind of traffic out here,’’ she said. “This is fabulous!”

The tournament drew 563,008 fans last year; 88,113 attended the first round.

That first-day record was shattered Thursday with 118,461 fans swarming the course.

Tiger Woods, in his first Open since 2001, played in the group ahead of Valley local Bubba Watson, creating the biggest traffic jams. Crowds also followed
Arizona State University alumnus Phil Mickelson, known to fans as “Lefty.”

They showed off their Sun Devil attire and chanted, “ASU, ASU, ASU” each time Mickelson walked through the ropes between holes, up to the green or even when he hit a good shot.

Though jam-packed, the atmosphere was light and relaxed. Fans of all ages, from three to 93, wandered the course, many millennials dressed in bright colored, funky patterned outfits.