Hey All, I was just wondering if anyone could recommend the best golfing tournaments to visit as a spectator?
Which ones have you been to or which ones would you like to go to?
I have been to 2 Tournaments the Am Ex WGC in 2005 at Harding Park in San Francisco and the Presidents Cup also at Harding in 2009. For me I much prefer stoke play as a spectator at the course but on TV I prefer the team events.
The crowds were so much more concentrated during the Presidents Cup due to their being so many less golfers on the course. With stroke play I could follow a lesser known Golfer and watch him play a couple holes and have a good vantage point for all of his shots. With Harding being the course I play most often I liked the fact that I could see how someone with exceptional skill played the same hole's I play regularly.
Whereas in the President's Cup to get a good spot you had to go set up before the golfers arrived and you could attempt to run ahead and hope you could find a place to see something. So I found the best way to watch the President's Cup was to set up and watch several groups play from that spot. For me this got repetitive, kind of like playing the same hole 18 times.
I guess I don't have any specific recommendations but I would say even though if you are in the right place at the right time team events can be magical, stroke play on average is a much more enjoyable experience. Also I would like to add that a practice round is highly recommended by me. My favorite moment in the President's Cup was standing a few feet away from Michel Jordan and Tiger Woods as they were joking around during a practice round. You can get much closer to anyone you want and you get to see them sometimes try for the hero shot that they wouldn't attempt in a tournament.
One last piece of advice I have is if it could be cold don't dress like you would if you were golfing. I made that mistake at the President's Cup and I froze. I had played Harding in similar weather many times but you need to dress warmer if you are just watching and not playing
I've been to a few PGA events some of which are no longer around. All of them were enjoyable, but I think most were pretty standard experiences, so I don't think they're worth recommending over others.
On my bucket list of events is:
The Waste Management Open - I think it'd be fun to sit on #16 and be part of the rowdy crowd. It just looks like a good time.
Ryder Cup - Missed out on two opportunities to attend. Will be there in 2016 though.
WGC - Matchplay Championship - I like this format, it's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. Plus it's always interesting to watch the matchups and how they manage the course.
Any of the majors - For obvious reasons.
Also I'd like to attend some of the other team events. While there are fewer golfers, there's just a different atmosphere around those tournaments as everyone is cheering for the same team and against the same team.
I think any of the majors would be a great place to start. The Ryder Cup would also be excellent to see.
The 2 tournaments I have been to were the 2011 Farmers Insurance and the WM Phoenix open (FBR open)
The 2012FI tournament was held at Torrey Pines which was pretty neat to be at. Tiger/Phil among many other big names were playing so the crowds were rather large around them. I enjoyed walking the course and checking out other groups.
The WM Phoenix open is a college party. Being from ASU, it is a staple of being a Sundevil. Sitting at the 16th placing bets on which caddy will get to the green first is tons of fun.
I suggest checking out both, though.
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country club, a great course to walk, its basically up and down, so you can cross from one hole to another, its very compact, easy to walk, not hilly at all, and draws a great field of golfers.
I've been to the memorial, its a horrible golf course for a tournament, the course is basically bunny ear shapped, making it horrible to walk and watch multiple groups.
Hilton Head is fun. If you are lucky enough to get Masters tickets, the course is fairly compact,and there are some places you can stand to see shots on several holes. There are no corporate boxes, so if you get there early enough ,you can get a spot in the bleachers that also let you see shots on several holes.
I actually enjoyed the practice rounds at the Masters more than the tournament itself. My buddy and I have gone to the practice rounds the past couple years on Wednesday and also watched some of the par 3 tournament. The players interact more with crowd and are more relaxed. It's cool to see a group of pros drop balls and take turns from 265 to see who can knock it on the green on 15. I assume there is usually a little money on it.