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Waste Management Open to honor military

The 2013 Waste Management Open will honor military members, a tournament official said Wednesday.

"For years, we've allowed anyone with a military I.D. into our event for free," said Tournament Director Tom Altieri. "This year, for the first time ever, all past and present military servicemen and women and their families can enjoy hosted food and beverage in a private tent located on the 18th fairway. It's just our way of saying thank you."

As usual, the Bird's Nest will be the place to be during the tournament. Altieri said some big names will hit the stage there.

"On Thursday night, Phoenix native and 10-time Grammy winner with 10 number one hits, country superstar Dirks Bentley will be at the Bird's Nest," he said. "On Friday night, it's a band known as one of the best live bands in the world. We're welcoming back O.A.R."

Last year's tournament winner, Kyle Stanley, said the big rowdy crowds on the 16th hole make the tournament special.

"It's probably the most nervous I've been with a wedge in my hand since I turned pro," he said. "You have so much adrenaline pumping. I think on the last day I had 165 yards to the hole, and I hit a pitching wedge just because you're so juiced up. It's a fun hole. Great energy."

The tournament runs Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 at TPC of Scottsdale. The fourth and final round will be played the same day as the Super Bowl.

Altieri hopes to top the $222 million that the tournament pumped into the Valley's economy last year.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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