The Waste Management Open has a special place in my heart, from the college days when me and my buddies would carpool up from Tucson to bum around Nos. 16 and 17 with simple general admission tickets to these days when I go out for work but still get to enjoy a great PGA Tour event happening in the middle of the biggest party you'll ever see.
If you're heading out to Phoenix this week, let this guide help you figure out what exactly to do, where to golf and what to eat.
"What is the best day to go out and watch golf?" -- The interesting thing about the Waste Management Open is it's a party with a golf tournament happening around it. Don't let the plush greens fool you; people are taking over TPC Scottsdale to catch some rays, drink some brews and skip out on a day or two of work.
You've all heard about Saturday, where 179,022 people attended a year ago, but if you want the best day with the least problems I'd say head out on Friday. The best way to describe Friday compared to Saturday? It's like New Year's Eve on Bourbon Street compared to heading to New Orleans during Mardi Gras (basically, still going to be crazy but not "I can't even move it's so busy"crazy).
"Where is the best place to actually watch golf?" -- It's no argument that the most fun spot on the golf course is No. 16, but sometimes you don't want to be in that arena of mayhem and just a nice seat by a green will do.
My favorite spot to check out people actually playing the game of golf? The hill behind the 12th tee, where you can watch players tee off on the par-3, watch shots come in on No. 11 and you can look across the pond and see players hit their second shots on the par-5 15th. That's the spot to hit up if you're in need of a break from the craziness and want to see guys actually play golf.
"What is protocol when you're on No. 16?" -- It's pretty simple, really; you boo a shot that misses the green, cheer when they hit the green and yell madly for golf balls when the players walk off the green.
"Is it true that they banned caddie races on No. 16?" -- Yes, sadly that is true, and while the PGA Tour is preaching safety for the caddies and such, I wrote a big piece in August about why I think banning the races misses the point of the entire week at TPC Scottsdale.
"What night should I go to the bird's nest?" -- The lineup is a solid one this year, with Metalhead going on Saturday and Weezer jamming out on Friday, but O.A.R. is a staple at the tent each year and will be the biggest draw on Wednesday night.
Who will I be booking to go check out this week? Kelley James, a singer/songwriter that not only kills it with his music, but will pull off a lengthy freestyle brought to you by the audience. It's definitely a good time and will probably be the most attended by a lot of the PGA Tour players.
"If we want to golf while we're out there, what would you suggest?" -- I get this question a lot about Phoenix golf and I'll tell you the same thing I tell everyone; We Ko Pa is as good as advertised, as is Troon North and Quintero if you're looking for a real desert golf experience. The Phoenician is a fun resort track tucked in the side of the Camelback Mountain and won't beat you up as bad as the others, and a sneaky good course in the middle of the city is Camelback Golf Club.
Also, if you want something a bit more reasonable but still fun and testing, check out Papago, the course you see when you're landing at Sky Harbor Airport.
"What should I eat?" -- There are thousands of places to eat in the city, but I'm going to suggest a couple of places in Old Town Scottsdale because that will be where the party is all week. Check out the Mission or Los Sombreros for some solid Mexican food and swing by Cowboy Ciao for an upscale experience (don't forget to order the chopped salad).
"Where can I watch some football on Sunday?" -- If you're in Scottsdale it's nearly impossible not to find a good bar every few blocks, but a new spot called Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers opened in Old Town, with the walls lined with TVs and the name pretty much explaining what you can get there to eat and drink.
"Anything else I should know?" -- Just to be very, very safe this week in Phoenix, take some cabs (Clean Air Cabs is a good choice that use all hybrids - 480-777-9777) and try to have a ton of fun. It's an experience, so rest up, lather on some sunscreen and be ready for a golf tournament the likes of which you've never seen before.
If you have any other questions, just hit me up on Twitter and I'll try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.
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