SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — You can enjoy the 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open from the first-come, first-serve general admission bleachers, if you don’t mind waiting potentially three hours to get in.
There’s also about 16,000 seats in the triple-decker suites, if you’re lucky enough to score one.
New in 2024, though, are by far the most expensive seats in the house and they are mere feet away from the tee box.
“We call them teeside seats,” said Jock Holliman, a volunteer with the Thunderbirds who’s seen everything there is to see at 16. His first year with 16th hole duty was 1997, when he witnessed the famous Tiger Woods hole-in-one.
So who gets to sit in those premium seats?
“Patrons who pay a pretty penny,” he said. “It’s on their bucket list to come to 16 and see the players up close.”
A pretty penny is right. You got $24,000 laying around? Then you, too, can purchase one of these seats for the four days of tournament competition.
Robert Hughes and a co-worker, who were wearing oversized green hats and seemed to be in awe when the group of Scottie Scheffer, Hideki Matsuyama and Wyndham Clark came through, are two of the lucky few. Their company, Canyon State Electric, has been in business for 46 years and has had a suite on the 16th hole for years. This year, Canyon State also ponied up for two of these seats.
When asked if he knew the price tag, Hughes said sheepishly but with a smile, “We do, yes.”
There are 40 seats in all, and for three of the four rounds, they are positioned directly in front of the where the players are teeing off at about 160 or so yards from the pin. The tee placement for Saturday’s third round is generally way up, as tournament organizers try to induce aces from about 105 yards away.
Thursday’s water-logged action made conditions less than ideal but that didn’t stop all the fans.
“Wednesday night two guys flew in from Virginia on the red-eye and they sat our here in the rain all day,” Holliman said. “It was a bucket-list deal. They said ‘we gotta come do this.'”
There are often places on a golf course during a tournament when fans can be oh-so-close to a pro hitting his golf ball, but there’s nothing like this.
“Best seat in the house,” said Hughes. “This is the best hole in all of golf, it’s the best party. I’m more nervous than the players. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”