PHOENIX — Waste Management Phoenix Open officials are excited about Tiger Woods competing in the 2015 tournament.
During an appearance on KTAR News 92.3 FM‘s Arizona’s Morning News Weekend, tournament Director Danny Calihan talked about the possible reasons why Woods is making a return to the event.
“The speculation is just that he wants to play more events,” Calihan said. “He wants to get to some places where he hasn’t played in years past. It always fits his schedule very well this year. He was not going to go to Asia and play in the events there this year.
“We’re just lucky that the stars aligned for us and he’s coming to Phoenix!”
Woods hasn’t played in the Scottsdale-based tournament since 2001. That was the year when he because upset with a fan who lobbed an orange onto the green while he was putting. Two years earlier, a man heckled the golf superstar and was wrestled to the ground by security, who found that the heckler had a gun in his fanny pack.
But Calihan said Woods has not expressed any concerns about security issues this year.
“Our security procedures are pretty strong, and we’re pretty proud of them,” he said. “No backpacks or purses are allowed. You need a clear, plastic bag for everything. In our discussions with Tiger, (security) never came up.”
One of the most famous shots of Woods’ career was the hole-in-one he made on the rowdy 16th hole in the 1997 tournament.
Calihan said that a lot has changed with that hole since Woods last played it.
“It’s gone from a couple of tents on the side of the hill to a full stadium hole that has over 200 skyboxes and 3,500 general admission bleacher seats,” Calihan said.
He added that he believes the tournament has become an “iconic sporting event in our country.”
Calihan said there was a spike in ticket sales as soon as Woods’ participation in the tournament was announced, but he did not give exact figures. Woods, a four-time Masters Tournament winner, has yet to claim a Phoenix Open title.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open takes place Jan. 26th through Feb. 1 on The Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale.