PHOENIX, AZ - The west coast awoke Tuesday morning to the horror that the east coast was made aware of a full three hours before - that the nation had been devasted by a terrorist attack on the Word Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C beginning at approximately 8:42 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, and a typical early week docket at most Phoenix area golf courses, fairways in the Phoenix metro area remained fairly empty. The small crowds that did make their way onto the Valley's numerous tracts did not seem ready to sacrifice their round of golf to monitor the worst attack on American soil since the Japense bombed Pearl Harbor.
"It's business as usual, but it's the summer doldrums so it wasn't that busy at all," said Dan Strand, general manager of Bear Creek Golf Club in Chandler. "We didn't close down, but the players that were out here, there was a solemn feel about them."
South of Phoenix at the Gila River Indian Reservation, things were a bit more somber according to Whilrwind Golf Club head professional Steve Schyberg.
"People were glued to the television in the bar and the proshop and this just puts a lot of things in perspective," Schyberg said.
Schyberg said that play continued on at its normal Tuesday pace, despite the catastrophic news.
"Everybody showed up, but not everybody's mind was on their golf game," he said. "Everybody that showed up this morning already knew what happened. Every golfer that walks off the course this afternoon comes in a watches television."
The "Valley of the Sun," has long been one of the most popular and soughtafter golf destinations in the United States. The numerous upscale courses of the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas are regarded as some of the finest daily fee and resort facilities in the world.
However, the Valley's remote location in the middle of southern Arizona requires that the majority of golfers visiting the area arrive via Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Schyberg, a native of upstate New York, said that its anybody's guess as to the effect that the "Attack on America" will have on the levels of play throughout the Valley.
"People don't understand the magnitude of this," he said. "Every flight in this country has been put on hold. We are not just talking about closing (Interstate) I-10. It is hard to say what the impact is going to be. Obviously, people are going to think about not flying, but our nature is to get back up there and do it again."