Saturday's crowd at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was announced at 189,722 -- a new PGA Tour one-day record. Perhaps that doesn't seem like much of a big deal. But just think about it in different ways, and it's a very big deal indeed.
Sunday's Super Bowl will be held at MetLife Stadium, which has a listed capacity of 82,500. That means the folks at TPC Scottsdale on Saturday could have filled MetLife twice -- and there would have been 24,722 people still trying to buy tickets from scalpers outside.
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How about something a little closer to home? Combine the seating of all four of Phoenix's professional home venues -- University of Phoenix Stadium (63,400), Chase Field (49,033), US Airways Center (18,422) and Jobing.com Arena (17,125) -- and you still come up nearly 42,000 seats shy. The 10 Cactus League spring training stadiums hold a combined 107,565 -- 57 percent of what would be needed for Saturday's attendance. Scottsdale's estimated population is 223,514, only 33,792 more than what piled into TPC Scottsdale in one day.
That's a pretty good-sized city right there, bigger than Salt Lake City (189,314), Tallahassee, Fla. (186,971), or Huntsville, Ala. (183,739). In fact, the crowd at the Phoenix Open would have been the fourth-largest city in Scotland, just slightly smaller than the population of Dundee (195,021).
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Let's say you wanted to pack everybody up and take them to next week's AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. The largest passenger jet in the world is the Airbus A380, which has seating for 525 people. So you'd only need around 362 A380s stacked up at the terminals at Sky Harbor International to handle everybody, not including all that lost luggage.
What about the world's largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas? It has cabin space for 6,296 passengers, which means you'd need 31 ships of that size to ferry every Phoenix Open fan to another port -- although the Salt River is probably not particularly navigable for anything bigger than a kayak. And don't forget to tip your servers and cabin stewards.
And what if you offered to treat everybody to a free round of golf? That's 47,431 foursomes. If your course can handle a foursome every nine minutes, starting at 7 a.m. and having the last foursome off at around 4 p.m. (with no weather delays), it'd take approximately 790 days to get the last group back in the clubhouse. That's two years and two months worth of greens fees. I hope there are a lot of rental clubs and golf carts available.
Almost 190,000 fans on one golf course? That's a pretty big deal, when you sit down and think about it.
Phil Mickelson's back must be feeling a whole lot better, based on the form he exhibited Saturday while tossing footballs to the boisterous crowd at No. 16 during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Mickelson, who plays golf left-handed but throws with his right, had quite a bit of zip on his first toss. It was a head-high frozen rope that would have made Joe Montana proud. He then showed some pretty good distance by throwing at least two balls into the upper deck boxes that surround the par-3 hole, which is playing at 126 yards during Saturday's round.
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The balls were donated by Mickelson's brother, who just happens to be the golf coach at Arizona State. Mickelson signed them and decided he'd toss them into the crowd after his tee shot.
Unfortunately for Lefty, he turned out to be a better quarterback than golfer on that hole. His tee shot missed the green, short and left of the flag. He then wound up in a sand trap when his chip shot failed to make it to the putting surface. Adding in a couple of putts, Mickelson carded a double-bogey 5.
Perhaps Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning ought to take notes ... on how not to get up and down for par.
Watch Phil wind up and let fly here: