Anyone who's been to the Dumpster...er, "Waste Management" Open golf tournament knows that one of the more irritating parts of the experience is figuring out what to do with your cell phone -- more specifically, how to sneak it in.
Starting this year, however, the tournament's no cell-phone policy is no mas.
For years, mobile devices have been banned from the "greatest show on grass" because ringing cell phones have a tendency to distract golfers.
In the past, when you got to the entrance to the tournament, some version of the following conversation usually went down (assuming you're unfamiliar with the tourney's draconian no cell-phone policy, that is):
Event staff: Hi, do you have a cell phone in your pocket?
Tournament attendee: Of course.
Event staff: Well, you're gonna have to leave it in your car, or check it at the door, but it's not going into the tournament.
If you're an idiot, you actually check your cell phone at the door, or walk it all the way back to your car (which can often be more than a mile away from the main gate). If you're smart, you tell the staffer "certainly -- I'd be happy to walk the mile back to my car and drop off my phone. You hang tight -- I'll be right back."
That's when you walk 100 feet away, stick your phone in your sock, and go to a different gate.
Those days, thankfully, have come to an end.
"We're pleased to announce that tournament attendees may now bring their mobile devices, such as cell phones or other PDAs to the tournament," tournament Chairman Alex Clark says. "We think this fan enhancement will be well-received by our fans and allow them to stay connected to their offices and families while at the tournament."
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Still, there are some restrictions:
-Devices must be set on silent mode at ALL times while on tournament grounds.
-Devices may be used for calls only in designated areas (Verizon Zones) which will be marked by signage.
-Devices cannot be used as a camera once play begins on Thursday, February 2nd.
-Devices cannot be used as a video recorder at any time.
-Devices must not be in sight near the rope-line in teeing areas, on the fairway or near the green. If patrons are not near the rope-line and well away from competitors, texting and emailing is permitted.
-Tournament personnel will be monitoring device use throughout the tournament grounds. Fans who violate the mobile device policy will be given two choices: Surrender their mobile device and retrieve it later by presenting a receipt at an area near the main gate when they leave the tournament, or leave the tournament immediately.
The tournament's being held at the TPC Scottsdale from January 30 to February 3, and is usually a lot of fun -- complete with a "party hole."
Click here for more info.