Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Lots of golf to go in Match Play

Citizen Staff Writer



Though Tiger Woods’ departure has thinned the crowd at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, there is still plenty of golf left to watch in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.

There are plenty of tickets for the weekend. And if you’ve never gone, take some advise from golf-watching experts on how it’s done.

Retired New York Life executive Jim Vavra, 60, of Oro Valley, was among a throng following Arizona State University alumnus Phil Mickelson on Friday.

Vavra advised wearing a good hat and walking shoes and drinking lots of water if you plan to attend the tournament. Shoes are especially important – expect to walk several miles during a full day of watching golf.

Vavra was also wearing an XM radio receiver, available at the course for $10.

The on-course broadcast from the PGA Tour Network offers tournament play-by-play. The roving reporters give fans a broader look than they would otherwise get, said Executive Producer Jeremy Davis.

“We have three people on the course moving around from match to match,” Davis said. You can also bring your own XM or Sirius receiver to get the broadcast for free.

The radio helped Vavra keep track of where players were so he could find them, he said.

If you choose to rove the course yourself, it’s much easier this year than in previous years.

Jack Nicklaus designed the course for the tournament – including easier fan access. Pathways connect many holes, and concession areas are centrally located throughout.

“The course is set up just wonderful for spectators,” Vavra said.

Nonetheless, it is hilly and long – just walking the 18 holes once is about five miles.

Self-described huge Tiger Woods fan Stephanie Tran, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book in Orange County, Calif., drove seven hours to watch the tournament. Carrying a folding stool, a water bottle and a bag full of almonds to munch on, Tran was ready for the 80-degree heat.

Tran, 31, saw Woods in his last tournament, last year’s U.S. Open. She had hoped to see him again, but she played golf at Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Club on Thursday, when Woods was eliminated, she said.

“It’s maybe a blessing in disguise. The crowds are smaller, maybe, since he’s not here,” she said Friday.

Tran likes golf tournaments because fans get to move around the course with the players. That way everyone gets a chance at the good seats.

“You can get lucky and see a great play, whereas at an arena event, you are where you are,” she said.

The avid golfer advised sticking close to the greens (more action there than in fairways), watching the younger players (they bring the passion) and drinking plenty of water.

“You definitely have to stay hydrated,” Tran said.

Volunteer nurse Nancy Amundson, who was working the first aid tent this week, agreed.

“We get a lot of out-of-towners who don’t know about the heat and the chollas,” she said.

Scores of people were treated for heat exhaustion this week, said Adam Goldberg, spokesman for the Northwest Fire District, which is handling medical coverage for the tournament.

Much of the celebrity glam is gone from this year’s tournament – Vijay Singh, Mickelson, Woods and other top golfers are gone – but there is still an element of celebrity see and be seen.

Tran, who was wearing a T-shirt from her alma mater, University of Texas, had one more bit of advice for golf fans.

“Wear a shirt that says something about yourself,” she grinned.

Tournament tips

• Wear sunscreen. The Arizona sun can be deceptive. If you forget, seek out the first aid tent behind the souvenir shop near the driving range. You can get some there.

• Drink a lot of water, which is available throughout the course.

• Wear sturdy walking shoes. The course is 7,800 yards long from start to finish – which is a little more than give miles. Plan to walk much more if you are roving the course.

• Watch your alcohol intake. The stress from walking and sun combined with beer has sent several people to the first aid tent, a paramedic at the tournament said.


Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 81.

Sunday: Partly cloudy with a high of 88.

Ticket info

Tickets at $50 per day are available for Saturday and Sunday, said Judy McDermott, executive director of the tournament host Tucson Conquistadores.

“We’re still selling tickets at the gate. There’s probably 1,000 for each day,” said.

Attendance ranged from about 5,600 Monday to 14,122 for Thursday, with fewer expected through Sunday. That’s up from last year, when 12,500 attended Wednesday and Thursday.

“Overall, our sales were way down, then it picked up when Tiger announced,” McDermott said. Numbers for Friday were not yet available.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service