Oh, Canada, Amidst the Cacti: A Day At The WM Phoenix Open

It Was A Very Canadian Atomosphere On Day Two At The WM Phoenix Open - Image Credit Shayain Gustavsp

Editor's Note: This week, BC's Golf contributor, Shayain Gustavsp ('Coach Shayain' to many of her students and social media followers), has flown south to take in the very unique spectacle that is the WM Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. Shayain will be posting daily observations from the 'Greatest Show on Grass' offering a wide-eyed Canadian's perspective on both the golf and the party-like atomosphere that surrounds the TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.

By Shayain Gustavsp (Special To BC Golf)

Stepping into the grounds of the WM Phoenix Open on a bustling Friday felt like a Canadian reunion in the heart of Arizona. With an estimated 115,000 attendees, it seemed as though a sea of Canadian accents and cheerful 'eh's filled the air, creating a familiar echo amidst the desert landscape.

From New Brunswick to Vancouver, the Canadian spirit was unmistakable, proudly donned in attire that ranged from nostalgic Vancouver Grizzlies jackets to the vibrant hues of a bachelor party from North Vancouver.

The day's start was as unexpected as finding a tuque in the desert - a frost delay, reminiscent of home, pushing the tee-off to 9:30 AM and giving a whole new meaning to 'chilly start'. My own morning began with a surprising ritual, more common in Vancouver than in Scottsdale: defrosting my windshield at the crack of dawn, a stark reminder of the weather's whims even in the desert.

The delay from Thursday's rain added an intriguing twist to the tournament's rhythm, but it was Abbotsford, BC's Nick Taylor's stunning performance that truly captivated the crowd.

Matching the tournament record with an 11-under 60 to wrap up his first round and adding a 70 in the second, Taylor's mastery on the greens tied him with Andrew Novak for the lead, a moment of Canadian pride that resonated deeply with every 'sorry' and 'thank you' exchanged among the crowd.

Image Credit Shayain Gustavsp

Abbotsford, BC's Nick Taylor Is Solidly Repping The Canadian Flag After His Tournament Record-Tieing 60 

The camaraderie among Canadians was palpable, turning the fairways into a mosaic of friendships new and old. Encounters were marked by genuine smiles and shared stories, a testament to the unspoken bond that connects us, regardless of where we find ourselves.

The highlight was a spontaneous gathering on the fifth fairway, where Canadians from across the country united for a photo, their pride as vivid as the red and white flags they held high. The moment was pure magic, encapsulating the essence of what it means to be Canadian, even far from home.

Image Credit Shayain Gustavsp

A Couple Of Fans Sport Some Vintage Vancouver Grizzlies Jackets As They Take In The WM Phoenix Open

As the sun dipped lower, casting long shadows over the course, the anticipation for the iconic 16th hole grew. Despite a wait that stretched over four hours, the spirit of the fans never waned.

My journey took me through throngs of spectators, culminating in a breathtaking view from the second row at the 16th, just in time to witness Min Woo Lee's precision and the outpouring of support for Nick Taylor, a moment that will linger in my heart for years to come.

As the day drew to a close, the desert sun finally broke through, bathing us in the warmth and vitamin D we'd all been craving. It was a gentle reminder that, despite the unexpected chill, the heart of the WM Phoenix Open - and the heart of every Canadian there - was warmer than ever.

Image Credit Shayain Gustavsp

Who Has More Fun At Golf Tournaments Than Canadians On The Road? 

So, as we look forward to the final rounds, let's don our red and white with pride, whether we're cheering from the comfort of our homes or the lively atmosphere of a local pub. The spirit of the WM Phoenix Open is alive and well, and it's a celebration of golf, camaraderie, and the undeniable warmth of the Canadian soul.

To all our friends celebrating Lunar New Year, wishing you prosperity and joy in the Year of the Dragon.

Driving Off into the Sunset,

Coach Shayain – Sharing Fairway Tales and Golf Whispers.

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