The FBR Open Preps For Super Sunday

January 20, 2009

When the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 32-25, Sunday night in the NFC Championship game to advance to their first Super Bowl on Feb. 1, it made John Felix's life a bit more difficult. Felix is the tournament chairman for the FBR Open at the TPC Scottsdale, which ends that afternoon. "I'm a lot busier than I was yesterday," Felix said Monday. "It starts to feel like last year, but it's different. We're scrambling all around to help make this as much a normal celebration of golf that it usually is... and now make it a celebration of the Cardinals."

In 2008 the Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots was held in nearby Glendale, and the tournament took on the enormous logistical task of making sure everyone who wanted to attend both events was able to do so. This year's football game will be held in Florida, but local rooting interest for the Cardinals, as they prepare for their first NFL title since they were based in Chicago in the 1940s, presents a different set of challenges for the tournament organizers.

Felix said the Thunderbirds, the group that runs the FBR Open is discussing how to incorporate the Cardinals colors into the outfits the volunteers wear during tournament week. He also said there will be plenty of signage to remind fans -- as if they'll need a reminder -- that the Cardinals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers about 30 minutes after the golf tournament ends. Felix has already begun calling the Coors Light Bird's Nest, the popular entertainment center located across from the course by a different name. "This is Cardinals week," he said. "It's the Coors Light Redbird's Nest."

The Cardinals advancing to the Super Bowl should make the normally boisterous crowds around the TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole even louder. "We don't need much to get our crowd excited," Felix said. "Now they'll be more excited. We'll hopefully be providing some great viewing opportunities. If we can get through some logistical issues [we'll have] some central viewing areas.

"The community is in a really upbeat mood," Felix said. "Everybody is beside themselves. Around here, how do you not love Kurt Warner? How do you not love Larry Fitzgerald? Or Anquan Boldin, with all that he has been through. This team is such a great story."

--John Antonini