LOS ANGELES -- Phil Mickelson had the gallery in stitches on the first tee box Saturday at the Northern Trust Open.
But if you were watching the action at Riviera Country Club from your couch, you missed it. The wisecrack most likely wasn't caught on camera. It won't be replayed on SportsCenter. That moment -- like so many lines from PGA Tour players every weekend -- is unique to the crowd within earshot, and it's just one of the reasons that golf is the best sport to attend as a fan.
The reason so many people enjoyed Mickelson's joke -- and don't worry, it wasn't anything inappropriate -- was because they were able to be mere feet from him. It's not possible to get so close to the competitors in any other sport. Where else can you get a Mickelson tee shot in your shorts?
Sure, a handful of fans can get just as close to Kobe Bryant with courtside seats at Staples Center, but only if they've got a couple thousand dollars to burn.
Which brings me to my next point -- the cost. A daily grounds pass to the Northern Trust Open this weekend is $30. That won't get you two beers and a hot dog at many NFL stadiums, much less a ticket. And at a PGA Tour event, your seat is wherever you want it to be. The options are endless, from staking out a spot next to the 18th green or following the leaders along the ropes the entire round.
Let's not forget: Attending a golf tournament is great for your health. Beyond the fresh air and sunlight not available in any arena, the average golf course is five miles in length. Spectators can torch calories following the action, whereas staying seated for a three hour MLB game barely burns the condiments on your hot dog.
But the best thing about attending a PGA Tour stop is that it's half sporting event and half state fair. Take two minutes away from the course and you'll notice a world of expos. The Northern Trust Open had stalls to analyze your golf swing, greens to practice putting, 15-minute chair massages and even a wine tasting booth. Think Robert Mondavi is setting up at The Palace of Auburn Hills?
Golf may be good nap fodder for you tube viewers, but get this: Studies have shown that football, baseball and basketball all have roughly 12 minutes of actual action during a game. If each golf shot lasts an average of five seconds and a golfer shoots par, that's 12 minutes of action per round. Now multiply that by four days and the number of golfers in the field. It's not even a fair fight.
I don't expect any Suns fans out there to scalp their tickets to next Sunday's game against the Lakers to attend the Accenture Match Play Championship down the road from Phoenix.
Although if you have 200 level seats maybe you should. I know where you can get a lot closer to the action.
Maybe Lefty will even have another one-liner ready to go.
Follow Adam Watson on Twitter @adamkwatson.
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