Smaller crowd improves FBR experience - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Smaller crowd improves FBR experience

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Posted: Monday, February 5, 2007 3:27 am | Updated: 6:30 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

If you were not out at the Scottsdale TPC for Sunday’s final round of the FBR Open, I’m sorry. Actually, I’m not.

Yes, the throng out to watch the action was large — 93,475 strong, a Super Bowl Sunday record — but, for a change on the weekend, not overwhelming. Saturday’s crowd was 102,750, creating congestion at many of the TPC’s more popular areas.

“It just doesn’t seem like there are as many people out here (as usual),” a marshal beside the 18th fairway said. “I wonder if the ballgame (Super Bowl XLI) has something to do with it.”

Whatever the reason, the setting on Sunday was perfect. The FBR Open still had its trademark party atmosphere, but minus the annoying congestion. You could walk along the course and not feel like part of a herd of cattle. The lines at souvenir and concession stands were more than tolerable.

The fan in me feels the same about the FBR Open and Cactus League. Both are great to attend, but there are times when both are too popular — where the wait of getting inside and around the venue is more trouble than it’s worth.

But Sunday was just fine. I had to enjoy it while it lasts, however.

Next year, the FBR Open will likely experience an added rush of humanity from the thousands of people in the Valley for the Super Bowl. And Tiger Woods will likely be playing.

Get there early. Or you’ll be sorry.

GOOD PENMANSHIP

He approached his job on Sunday with laser-like focus, putting precision into every stroke. However, this man was not wielding a club.

Markers were the tool of choice for John Beaudet, who was working the official summary board near the 18th green. His job was to continually update the calligraphywritten, hole-by-hole scoreboard for the 132-player field, a monumental undertaking.

“I really can’t talk right now,” Beaudet said. “The numbers are coming in fast and furious.”

Beaudet took the scores from a computer, wrote them on the board and — using a pencil first — etched and colored a nifty announcement of Heath Slocum’s hole-in-one.

Chicken-scratchers need not apply for this job.

NOT NOW, KID

I am not sure of the best place to get autographs at a PGA Tour event, but the seekers beyond the 18th green on Sunday had mixed results at best.

Professional golfers are focused on putting their names on just one thing after a round, and it is not a hat or program.

“I’ve got to go sign my card before anything else,” Joe Ogilvie told fans as he came off the 18th.

BRILLIANT IDEA

OK, so it does not rate with box seats and the JumboTron for fan-friendly additions to sporting venues.

But the instant hand-sanitizer dispensers outside the restroom areas are a godsend — especially for fans with kids.

“Germ juice,” my 3-yearold son calls it.

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