TPC Scottsdale's 16th brings the noise

By John HawkinsFebruary 1, 2012, 1:23 pm

As par 3s go, TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole is neither gorgeous nor grueling. It doesn’t photograph nearly as well as the seventh at Pebble Beach and it certainly doesn’t baffle the world’s best players like No. 12 at Augusta National. A flat patch of scrub and sand, a splash of grass on a canvas of beige, one doesn’t get the sense course architects Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf spent weeks poring over the hole’s finest intracacies.

Tiger Woods aced it back in 1997, before the twin rows of bleachers yielded to a fully enclosed mini-arena, but in terms of historical value, Scottsdale’s 16th really doesn’t rank. Given that it’s the third-to-last hole on the course, you would think the 16th has affected the final outcome of many Phoenix Opens over the years. It hasn’t, particularly when you compare it with the island-green 17th at TPC Sawgrass, which has become a cemetery of dashed hopes at The Players Championship.

Quail Hollow’s 17th hole is a better par 3 than Scottsdale’s 16th. Riviera Country Club has a couple of superior short ones. We could go on, but only at the risk of belaboring the point.

In an age when making a lot of noise can make you famous, Scottsdale’s 16th has elbowed its way onto golf’s red carpet simply by turning up the volume on the yahoo factor. This weekend’s telecast will feature plenty of action from the 16th, where the coliseum-like seating capacity has grown to about 20,000, where the atmosphere has become a cross between a “Let’s Make a Deal” audience and an Alabama-Auburn football game.

I suppose that when golf lets its hair down, it’s front-page news. The 17th at Sawgrass has been known to produce a bit of fan commotion, but nothing like the organized mayhem at Scottsdale, where the name ‘Waste Management Open’ kind of makes sense. No other Tour stop is capable of such a scene, and thus, the Little Par 3 That Roared has basically given the event a unique identity.

Good for the game? Bad for the game? I see no harm. Honest fun in the mid-winter sun. Surely, many had never attended a golf tournament prior to spending an afternoon at the 16th, then stumbled away thinking every weekend on the PGA Tour is a blast. Given that it measures a mere 162 yards, you’d think the hole might be lengthened just to accommodate more seating. When there’s revenue involved, there’s always room.

In actuality, the final three holes at TPC Scottsdale could all use a bit more muscle. As closing stretches go, 16-17-18 has become outdated: a short-iron; then a driveable par-4; then a driver/wedge into a wide, uncluttered target. There’s nothing wrong with giving the fellas a chance to score, but finishes this soft won’t do much to enhance your long-term competitive drama.

Then again, I suppose you could just leave well enough alone. The old Greater Hartford Open used to draw Scottsdale-like crowds, but over time, it struggled to hold title sponsors, which led to shifting dates, weaker fields and much smaller galleries. This week’s Tour stop remains one of a handful that generates an extreme level of local interest. A little noise never hurt anyone. A lot of noise hasn’t, either.

Check out Jason Sobel's live blog from the par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale, Thursday and Friday on from 3-7PM ET.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.