Story and Photos by Pat Krause
The American Express Golf Tournament, Formerly the Bob Hope Classic, has a new Host this year with legendary PGA golfer Phil Mickelson. So many changes have been made over the years since Bob Hope held the tournament. Long gone are celebrities and Presidents playing. Years without a sponsor took its toll on that aspect, I guess. The PGA is trying something new with concerts. Last year’s concerts were a big hit with golf and music fans. This year they brought big names, Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac and other bands on Friday night and Luke Bryant on Saturday night.
The Stage was set up on the Driving Range at the Nickolas Stadium Course. The idea of concerts has been working. The fans started arriving on the driving range even before the end of the play. The galleries for the golfers I don’t think are as big as when celebrities played, but the ticket sales have improved over the last few years because of the concerts. Stevie Nicks fans numbered almost 22,000 people. Luke Bryant fans were even more with 23,000 filling the grassy areas. The sides of the course were filled with blankets and people watching. Golf carts from the local residents could be seen on the hill in large numbers.
I guess there isn’t anywhere you can watch the top PGA players in a big tournament and see a concert with top names for the $50.00 daily fee for each day of the shows. Both Stevie Nicks and Luke Bryant sang some of their big hits where guests sang along and knew the words. Stevie Nicks did a solo night after touring with the band, Fleetwood Mac. She has several solo tour dates for 2020. I heard that traffic was a bit of a problem as there is only one way in and one way out for those 20,000 plus fans. Hopefully, they will fix that for next year.