SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- If the Masters is known as a tradition unlike any other, the Waste Management Open is a tradition unlike any other ... Saturday night. When you're at a packed bar, and it is just past 1:00 AM and you aren't totally sure how you're going to get home but you just hope that happens before you spew all over the place.
It is coined the greatest show on turf, and the kickoff to the greatest month and a half stretch Phoenix has the entire year. So what to do while coming to the Valley for the Phoenix Open, and what not to do? Here is your exhausted guide to the 2010 Waste Management Open. I'll be honest, my liver already hurts.
First things first ... calling it the FBR was easy. Is there a simple nickname for the Waste Management Open? -- As tough as it is to go from FBR to 15 letters is, you're in luck. People in the valley have been calling it the WaMo, and I think that sticks, even if the Waste Management people hate it.
What holes should I watch? -- I get this question from a lot from people and it really comes down to one other question. Are you going to the tournament to watch golf or party? One of the first things I was told years ago while at the University of Arizona (and this was before the tournament took a life of its own) is that you could attend the Open on a Saturday, and literally not see a single hole if you didn't want to.
If you're going to watch golf, there are a few places to park it.
The first is past the 3rd green, so you have a good look at second shots coming in and tee shots on the par-3 4th. This is a good spot for a lot of reasons but mainly it gets you away from the party that is the closing three holes, and comfortably in a position to see good golf shots, possible eagle putts and who knows, maybe an ace.
Another spot that is sneaky good, especially if you're in the mood for both golf and a little craziness, is near the 11th tee. It is one of the toughest tee balls of the day for these guys, because TPC Scottsdale mows down the left side of the rough so balls still can find the fairway and trickle in the water, and gets you close enough to the 16th grandstand that you might see something that you'll remember for a while. The only problem with this location is it is no man's land for beer refills.
Finally, if you want to party a little more than watch golf, but like to watch golf, you have to get close to the tee at 17. Back in the day, this was the sneakiest best spot on the course, because you could see 16 green and watch guys go for the green on 17. (Plus, the added bonus of watching girls walk down that grassy hill in between these holes and, like clockwork, every third girl would take a digger. Even the PGA Tour guys got a kick out of this.) Watching tee balls fly at 17 is probably the best spot on the course, as long as you don't mind not being in 16.
I've heard about 16 for years. I have to be there. What should I do? -- If you are heart-set on being on the 16th hole, which is an experience in and of itself, I have one piece of advice, especially for Saturday ... go early, get some seats, and stay put. Last year, during the third round, it was basically a two hour line to get into the 16th by 1 PM, and by 3 PM you had absolutely no shot.
One of the best days to hit up 16 is Friday afternoon, when it is still busy but not nearly as crazy as Saturday. If you are coming to the WaMo from out of town, you have to at least see the spectacle that is the 16th, even if it doesn't mean staying.
Bubba Watson told me that when he tees it up on 16, he forces the crowd to get rowdy and loud before he hits, just because the constant screaming and cheering is easier to hit with than the inevitable single guy screaming in your backswing. Not a bad philosophy.
It's Arizona. The weather is going to be fantastic, right? -- Sigh. Probably the most depressed I've been in weeks was when I checked the forecast for this weekend. 71 and sunny on Thursday (Awesome!). 72 and mostly cloudy on Friday (Umm, okay, no worries). 64 and cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers on Saturday. Are you kidding me??? If it rains on Saturday, not only will thousands of fans be bummed, but the WaMo will lose more money than they probably want to think about. Remember, beers are $7 at the course, and if it is raining, people will opt for a bar down the street over standing out in the showers.
Is there anything I shouldn't bring? -- Unless you have a sneaky place for your cell phone, like in a boot or in a sunglass case, bringing it to the WaMo might be more of a pain than not having it at all. If you bring your phone and they find it, they'll make you check it outside the entrance and trust me, at 5 PM you do not want to be in that line trying to get your phone. It could add another hour or so to your much needed nap.
What about the Birds Nest? -- If you don't know, the Birds Nest is the big tent near the entrance to TPC Scottsdale. It hosts a concert every night, that has been highlighted by O.A.R. the last few years. Usually, O.A.R. plays on Thursday as a sort of kickoff to the weekend events, but this year they play on Saturday.
A few things you should probably know about the Birds Nest on Saturday. If you think people are drunk at the golf course, wait until you enter the Birds Nest. It is basically like everyone that was drunk took three tequila shots before entering, and are now nearing life support status.
On Thursday the Birds Nest was a treat, kicking off a great weekend. Saturdays might be a little too intense for those not fully fledged to drinking themselves into oblivion. Just know, you've been warned.
Is there any chance we see Tiger Woods? -- Unless he is sitting next to you drinking a Budweiser, there is zero chance you'll ever see Tiger at this event again. He took the 16th hole to another level when he made an ace here in 1997, and cemented his legend when he had spectators from the crowd help move a boulder in his line on the 13th in 1999, leading to what most call "the biggest loose impediment ever," but an orange thrown at him in 2001 was enough to see Tiger cross this off his schedule for good.
So no Tiger. Who can I see? -- Three of the top eight in the world will be teeing it up this week, including ASU alumni Phil Mickelson, last week's Accenture winner Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer. Also in attendance will be Geoff Ogilvy, J.B. Holmes, and yes ladies, Camilo Villegas.
What is the best way to get around? -- Taxi (Might I suggest Clean Air Cabs), bus, your feet ... anything that doesn't have you getting behind the wheel if you've even had one drop of alcohol in your system. You are heading to the toughest place in the country for DUI laws. Don't become another tally for the Scottsdale Police during this weekend.
Is there anything exciting going on Friday night? -- On Friday night, there will be parties at basically any nightlife place in Scottsdale. Saddle Ranch is hosting a great party. American Junkie will be overflowing with people. The Lodge is always a great place for a group. The W is nice if you have a really expensive suit jacket and like $12 drinks.