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Par Tee On!

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"It's a little crowded and racy for a 90-year-old guy," he says. "But it's neat to see so many people having a good time. The spirit of the thing is basically the same as it was in the '40s. It's just a thousand times bigger."


Larsh Kellogg has been labeled a rowdy since youth, primarily because he looks exactly like Kelly from The Bad News Bears. Growing up, he would occasionally get accused of having torn up a nearby golf course with his four-wheeler. It wasn't him, he says, because he has too much respect for golf.

"Look, I might have broken a club or driven a golf cart into a bunker or something when I was younger," he says. "But I didn't do the four-wheeler thing. I swear. And I'm totally Mr. Nice Golf now."

So, at 27, he's not really one of the new Phoenix golf hooligans. He doesn't yell during a backswing. He doesn't throw things. He doesn't root against people unless somebody is challenging an ASU grad such as Phil Mickelson or Jim Carter. When he does get back from Las Vegas for the tournament, he just has a few beers with old friends and enjoys the good golf.

Kellogg, though, was part of the crowd that is often blamed for much of the Phoenix Open's more intolerable rowdiness -- the students of ASU, particularly the Greeks.

"There's a ton of people from ASU who just go out for the party," he says. "You know, if the girls were going, the guys were going. A lot of them didn't know jack about golf. Some would get pretty drunk and pretty stupid."

Kellogg and other recent ASU alums say the Open became a major ASU party event back in the early 1990s when Phil Mickelson was emerging as a big star. But several other ASU grads or Valley-based golfers have incited ASU partisanship over the years. Carter has a crew, for example, as does Calcavecchia.

The ASU students have helped foster a new golf etiquette, one that resembles the riotous partisanship of basketball and football games.

Indeed, Kellogg and others say, students prime and party around the Phoenix Open as if it were an ASU football game.



"Same thing," he says. "You'd prime for the event and there would be rage-er parties after it. For alums, it's like homecoming weekend. It's the time to come back and have some fun with friends."

Brothers Jeff and Doug McKeown fly down from Nebraska to watch Calcavecchia, their cousin. Some years, the tournament weekend has served as a reunion for the family.

For the McKeowns, the trip feels like Spring Break.

"You've been inside all winter and all of a sudden you're outside and it's sunny and 70 degrees," Jeff says. "Yeah, it's a shock to your brain. You just feel wonderful."



The McKeowns are golfers. They know and respect the etiquette. But that doesn't mean the weekend isn't an all-out party. The partyers in the extended Calcavecchia family have a tournament tradition: Each time Mark makes a birdie, members of the Calc Crew have to drink a beer before Mark tees off on the next hole.

Calcavecchia has a history of stringing together birdies on the back nine at the TPC, where he has won the Phoenix Open twice, in 1989 and 1992.

"It can get pretty painful," Doug McKeown says.

"It's good when I can hurt them," Calcavecchia says.

If fans aren't on the golf course, they're at the Bird's Nest or at one of the parties that forms outside the tent for those who can't get in. By midafternoon, the Open crowd changes from middle-class, more middle-aged golf fans with their children to women with high heels and guys reeking of cologne.

It used to be nearly impossible to move inside the old Bird's Nest, which was holding 3,500 people in its final years at the Open. Partygoers tended to grab a beer and park in their own one-foot-by-one-foot space.

Calcavecchia used to go over to the Bird's Nest when he was younger. He says he hasn't been there in five years. And he's not sure how many golfers will go the extra distance to the new Bird's Nest.

"The married guys sort of stay away and probably will even more now," he says. "But the bachelors might still make it over.

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Robert Nelson