Bucket hats, beef jerky: Joel Dahmen embraces the chaos of Phoenix Open

Joel Dahmen, standing on the 11th tee during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, finished strong Friday to just make the cut. (photo by Brady Klain/Cronkite News)

SCOTTSDALE – For many golfers, the kinetic atmosphere at the Waste Management Phoenix Open can be daunting. Some of the world’s most prolific pros annually sit out of the Valley’s only PGA Tour event because of the party-like setting at TPC Scottsdale.

Not Joel Dahmen — he embraces the chaos.

“It’s fun,” Dahmen said. “It probably suits me better than the other guys who don’t play here because it’s too crazy.”

A Scottsdale resident, Dahmen is originally from Clarkston, Washington, and turned professional in 2010. He ended last season 55th in the Fedex Cup standings, the highest finish of his career.

Since earning his PGA Tour card in 2017, Dahmen has established himself as one of golf’s biggest personalities. Whether it’s sporting his signature bucket hat, eating beef jerky on the course or something else, Dahmen is seemingly always doing something unusual.

That’s why he’s such a great fit at TPC Scottsdale.

“I probably enjoy it more than most people,” Dahmen said. “It’s my hometown event, so it’s fun.”

At hole 16 of the first round, Dahmen’s antics were on full display. After losing a bet to fellow PGA golfer Max Homa last week, Dahmen repped a “I Love Max Homa” t-shirt for the entirety of the hole. He also threw hats out to fans watching his group.

The 32-year-old golfer understands the scene at the stadium-like course, so he tries to put on a show.

Joel Dahmen enjoys the party atmosphere of the Phoenix Open. (Photo by Brady Klain/Cronkite News)

“They throw a heck of a party here, and a golf course broke out in the middle of it,” Dahmen said. “People don’t really care as much about the golf as they do the partying, which is totally fine.

“Something you probably don’t want to do every week, but you want to once a year.”

As for his performance in the 2020 tournament, he struggled to begin the second round.

Entering day two 1-under par, Dahmen bogeyed his first two holes, pitting him in a deep hole and in danger of missing the cut. He also bogeyed twice in the early portion of the back nine, moving his score to 2-over par — three strokes behind the 1-under cut line.

Then he rode the crowd’s energy and flipped a switch. Dahmen eagled on 17 and birdied on 18, lowering his score by three strokes and getting him to that 1-under score needed to make the cut.

According to Geno Bonnalie, Dahmen’s caddie, the setting at the Phoenix Open helps Dahmen keep a positive mindset, even when he’s struggling the most.

“It keeps you pumped up when you want to get a little low. It’s hard to with the atmosphere,” Bonnalie said. “He loves it, and that kind of speaks to who he is and his personality.”

After making the cut, Dahmen has made it to the weekend for the first time in his two Phoenix Open appearances.

But he’s not satisfied with that. Dahmen now hopes to soar up the leaderboard behind the tournament’s craziness.

“You have to embrace it,” Dahmen said. “If you don’t embrace it, you’re going to hate it even more.”

Sports Reporter, Phoenix