|By RANDALL MELL|
The TPC at Scottsdale’s 16th hole isn’t the most exciting hole in golf.
It may not be the most electric or festive or fun hole, either.
But it’s hands down the most obnoxious hole.
Players who pass through there must feel as if they are being temporarily removed from competition to perform court jester duties for the 15,000 drunken kings and queens who rule over that dominion.
It isn’t golf that’s played in the stadium the Thunderbirds have built there. Tour pros are transformed into pawns in the world’s largest drinking game.
If you never tire hearing someone scream “Get in the hole,' this is the place for you.
It’s a bit like Mardi Gras, though. If you can tolerate a little beer being spilled on you, there’s a lot of crazy fun to be had at the hole. There’s genuine creative genius in some of the antics of folks around the tee box who study player bios to come up with insightful chants or commentary.
Love it or loathe it, the 16th hole is an American golf spectacle. It feels like it belongs because it naturally evolved there, like the cactus in the region, but that kind of atmosphere is a weed in the PGA Tour garden almost anywhere else.
|By REX HOGGARD|
Let’s be clear, we have no interest in turning the cathedral that is Augusta National into Camden Indoor, but anyone who wouldn’t want a dollop of Bird’s Nest crazy mixed into the serious business of PGA Tour golf is missing the point.
Golf, like every other professional sport, is equal parts competition and entertainment. It’s why corporations spend millions of dollars on green-side suites from Phoenix to Firestone and why the scene at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole this week should be a blueprint of sorts for all tournament directors.
Without question, 12,000-15,000 over-served pseudo golf fans would mar the canvass that is the Old Course at St. Andrews, but after a week trudging through the Tucson desert on what seemed at times to be a lonely walk-about there is no doubt the zest of Scottsdale’s 16th is the energy drink that could give the Tour a much-needed jolt.
Make no mistake, other tournaments have noticed. Travelers Championship officials created the “Fan Zone” a few years back, a Northeastern, nip/tucked version of the Bird’s Nest. And anyone who has watched the evolution of TPC Sawgrass’ 17th can see Scottsdale’s influence.
No, we don’t need Mardi Gras every week. But a little merriment wouldn’t hurt.