Top 5 Tournaments for Spectators
We’ve been waiting for it and we know you have been, too… Flipping through the TV channels, hoping and searching. Well, the wait is finally over, golf fans! The PGA Tour has officially kicked off its 2013 season this week with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions opener in Kapalua, Hawaii!
To honor the occasion, we wanted to whet your appetite with a look at our top five PGA Tour golf tournaments for spectators. We took into consideration all the things that matter most to fans: location, potential traffic issues, weather, accessibility to players and just plain unadulterated fun. Here’s our list – get off the couch and enjoy some awesome pro golf in person this year, and hopefully we’ll see you there!
#5 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am ~ Pebble Beach, California ~ Feb. 4-10, 2013
This tournament has a little bit of everything. It’s one of the most beautiful settings in all of golf. There are typically celebrities galore all over the golf course – Bill Murray, George Lopez, Clint Eastwood, etc., have been sighted in the stands. Top-notch professionals like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are a given each year. It’s a one-of-a-kind event that redefines the average golf tournament. It’s amazing athleticism meets rock and roll and Hollywood glitz, and it all plays out in a rowdy, crowd-surfing atmosphere.
The one down side might be the multiple courses that the tourney is played on in its early rounds, which makes it a vast area to traverse. But, if you just plop down on Pebble Beach’s Golf Links course, you will be able to see great golf while enjoying majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.
#4 Puerto Rico Open at Trump International Golf Course ~ Rio Grande, Puerto Rico ~ Mar. 4-10, 2013
Voted one of the “Top 5 Places to Party on the PGA Tour” last season, Puerto Rico, home to the Puerto Rico Open, offers a lively atmosphere and Latin flavor to those who make the trip to the beautiful island paradise in the Caribbean. Run concurrently with the World Golf Championship at Doral, this tournament might lack some of golf’s biggest names, but makes up for it with unbelievable fan access to the players that compete. Last year, the Puerto Rico Open was named the “most fan-friendly event on the PGA Tour” because spectators truly feel they are a part of the action during the event.
The island itself is a wonderful – and surprisingly affordable – vacation destination that features a great tropical climate and a sizzling post-tournament social scene. Add in great golf watching and this tourney is a can’t-miss in our Top 5.
#3 Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands ~ Cromwell, Connecticut ~ June 17-23, 2013
The lush TPC River Highlands is the home of the Travelers Championship, named the “top fan-friendly event” on the PGA Tour in 2010. The number of activities that you can participate in at this tournament seem endless. There are Pro-Ams, concerts (Michael Bolton, KC and the Sunshine Band, Javier Colon are all performing this year), a women’s day, a military appreciation day and the Subway fan zone, all of which allow fans to not only observe, but experience and enjoy this fun event.
For those who feel the golf is paramount, the finishing four holes at TPC River Highlands might be the most exciting compilation of holes to finish a round on the PGA Tour. Sundays at this tournament always bring a ton of drama as the pros finish off this dastardly stretch that determines the champion.
#2 The Greenbrier Classic ~ White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia ~ July 1-7, 2013
Over the past two years, the folks at The Greenbrier Resort have made a grand entrance onto the professional golf scene. Not only do they boast a world-class, historical landmark venue, but they’ve also invited some of the top musicians in the world to play in a concert series after the day’s golf is done. Musicians such as Toby Keith, Lionel Ritchie, Rod Stewart, The Fray and Bon Jovi have all played following the close of each day of the tournament. As fans, we can’t think of anything we’d rather do after enjoying a day of golf watching in the Allegheny Mountains than kick back with a beer and enjoy some rockin’ live music!
#1- Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC of Scottsdale ~ Scottsdale, Arizona ~ Jan. 28 – Feb. 3, 2013
The unquestioned champion of all fan-favorite golf events for us is the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, AZ. We rate this tournament top in several categories – best for different fan events to participate in at sponsor tents (there are TONS of different activities), best people watching – there are beautiful people all over the place, best weather – the desert climate is unreal in February. And of course, if you want to see good golf, some of the best players in the world convene in Scottsdale every year, and the 16th hole at TPC of Scottsdale is world-renowned for its stadium-style setting and raucous crowd atmosphere.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, when you’re done watching golf, find your way over to The Coors Light “Birds Nest,” an enormous series of tents set up for live music entertainment that continues on well into the night. The past couple of years fans have enjoyed concerts performed by Will.i.am, O.A.R., The Doobie Brothers and the Goo Goo Dolls, and fans this year can expect to see multi-platinum country artist Dierks Bentley, among others. The experience is unparalleled in all of golf and it is definitely one to add to your bucket list.
Feature photo by Jason Scott Deegan/ Travel Golf