Jason Sobel is in Scottsdale, Arizona this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open where he is live chatting from the 16th hole coliseum at TPC Scottsdale on GolfChannel.com. He began by saying how hard it is to actually get a seat around the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale and it is rare to sit there between two empty seats as he did yesterday. He spoke to a few people who come to the 16th hole every year and are part of the essence of that hole as they come with player bios and lead a lot of the chants.
There will be some birthday hats and other birthday-related cheer because Heath Slocum and Chris Stroud are celebrating their birthdays today. Kevin Na will get some Tin Cup references because of his 16 last year on one hole in the Valero Texas Open. All of the cheers are in good fun.
The PGA TOUR thinks that they can use the Waste Management Phoenix Open as an example of how tournaments can and should be organized around the country. The Thunderbirds organization does a fantastic job of running this event and so many people in the community are involved in this event as a volunteer, event organizer, or spectator. There are very few people in Scottsdale who are not involved in this event and hopefully this can be the case in other cities and communities.
He doubts that there will be another frost delay on Friday however some first round groups who are finishing up will be playing at the same time as second round groups who are beginning their rounds. Also, the first round groups who are finishing will have quick turnarounds which could be interesting for pace of play and for determining the leaderboard for the weekend.
Phil Mickelson is an eternal optimist and that is certainly the case this week in Scottsdale. A 2-time Champion of this event, he started with a 68 and views this week as the start of his season following a T49 in the Humana Challenge and a missed cut in the Farmers Insurance Open. A 39-time PGA TOUR winner and a World Golf Hall of Fame inductee this year, Phil is still motivated to win more and more at the age of 41 because he is very competitive. As for the Super Bowl, he is picking the New England Patriots as he has been a big Pats fan for years.
In his second visit to Friday’s edition of Morning Drive, he started by saying that it was still dark in Scottsdale but he had a feeling that the party was going to start very soon. Sobel felt that the best story of the first round was Kyle Stanley who shot a first round 69 after the final round debacle at Torrey Pines on Sunday. He fully expected Stanley to bounce back quickly but he did not expect him to bounce back this quickly however he is very pleased to see Stanley start well this week.
The tradition of players throwing stuff into the crowds began with his Grey Goose 19th Hole colleague Tripp Isenhour and for those who want to catch stuff, you have to position yourself in the right place on Thursday or Friday and get to the course early to secure your seat. Sobel said if Golf Channel would give him stuff to throw out, he will certainly do that.
Jarrod Lyle, who made a hole-in-one at 16 last year, got into the field this year after Nick Watney withdrew and he has started strong this week. Since the Phoenix Open moved to TPC Scottsdale in 1987, there have been a total of 8 aces and while he hopes that there will be a ninth ace, he wants it to happen later in the day on Friday or Saturday when the crowds will be their biggest.