Golf fans at the Running of the Bulls at Waste Management Phoenix Open
An annual tradition, golf fans line up early to run to the 16th hole to claim a seat during the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Feb. 10, 2024.
Why follow around one golfer or stand at one hole at the WM Phoenix Open when you can watch them all on TV at once and stay warm and dry in the process? Why stand on your tiptoes to watch a golfer tee off when you can instead bet on his success from the comforts of a padded seat and with a beer in your hand?
This is the rationale of some fans at the DraftKings Sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale, the only sportsbook on site at a golf course in the U.S.
“I honestly don’t watch a lot of golf,” said Wyatt Koelling, a first-time Phoenix Open fan, “but I sports bet and I drink, so I’m here.”
The DraftKings Sportsbook, which is located just inside the entrance to TPC Scottsdale, welcomed its first customers on Oct. 19, 2023. The sportsbook has seating both indoors and outdoors, and it has enough TVs to show a handful of sporting events at the same time. There are 32 betting kiosks and six live-betting windows.
Aaron Ortiz and Tommy Barnes, who say they don’t normally bet on sports, paid $450 each for a package that includes an open bar, free breakfast, lunch and dinner, and multiple live music performances by Steve Aoki, DJ Knick-Knack and others at the DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ortiz, an Arizona native and an avid golf fan, said he had not been to the tournament for 15 years but said he’s still spending his time at DraftKings as opposed to on the course.
“I got the best seat in town,” Ortiz said. “I’m watching it here, I got a cold drink in my hand and a soft seat. Why would I want to go out there and be in the wet grass?”
Barnes, along with his buddy Ortiz, said he prefers the sportsbook experience as opposed to the live-viewing experience.
“You’re not getting this experience on the course,” Barnes said. “You have a lot more room to sit around (here) versus walking around in a horseshoe. You’re not going through bunches of people trying to get where you need to go.”
Johnny Avetto, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, said that DraftKings at TPC Scottsdale is unparalleled in Arizona.
“I’ve been in the sportsbook business for 37 years,” Avello said. “I’ve built a couple sportsbooks, and this one is pretty amazing. It’ll rival most sportsbooks in Las Vegas.”
“It’s beautiful here. Everything is top notch,” Ortiz said. “It reminds me of Vegas. It’s pretty much the same.”
Robbie Hodin is a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.