Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing email@example.com, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @shanebacon.
Today we discuss the Waste Managment Open, the party in the desert, and the infamous 16th hole. Should more tournaments try to replicate the party atmosphere to get the event more notoriety? We dive in, discuss, and try not to yell at any golfers.
Bacon: Should the PGA Tour have more holes like the 16th at TPC Scottsdale? Actually, I don't think so. It's a once-a-year experience for the PGA Tour members, who are used to serene landscapes and quiet patrons. Now, they get drunk college kids that boo you if you miss the green. It might be too much if it happened a few times a year, but this week, at the Waste Management, it's a great experience, and loosens everybody up.
Busbee: Loosens them up? What the hell do they have to be tight about? Most of these cats have only played one or two tournaments this year, and those in Hawaii and San Diego. Bunch of nancies. We need to put this tournament, or an experience like it, right after Augusta and the U.S. Open. Everybody's going to be like jelly then. But more to the point: This is a golf experience unlike any other, to coin a phrase. But why not replicate this in a couple other locales around the country? Not every tournament, certainly, but why not have a couple places on tour where the experience is more like the Ryder Cup than the buttoned-down Anonymous Insurance Company Classic?
Bacon: Well, the Buick Open did this on the 17th hole, may it rest in peace, and it seemed to be a success. I actually love the idea of having this the week after the Masters, at a lowly event that would get people talking. Maybe let the fans pick the Sunday pins after a few drinks. Your point about the Ryder Cup might actually go a little deeper ... if the PGA Tour had more raucous crowds during the season, it might help the American teams with the atmosphere when they play in the event.
Heck, can we get Justin Leonard to run out in everyone's line before they have to putt? I think this might work!
Busbee: As long as it's just Justin, and not a collection of frat dudes spelling out BUBBAROX, I'm cool with that. There's got to be some kind of middle ground here between the borderline anarchy of the Waste Management Open and the private-school cafeteria lockdown of most tournaments. I'm for erring in favor of more freedom; I think the atmosphere at the 16th is exactly what you want at more tournaments. It's probably impossible to replicate that success, but that doesn't mean the tour shouldn't try.
Bacon: Maybe you're right, but I feel like adding it to different tournaments would make the Waste Management less significant. It's just a perfect storm here. One of the biggest party schools in the world, plus good weather, plus a town like Scottsdale that is infamous for having a good time, plus a fun vacation for people snowed in during the winter ... it's just perfect. But I think if some other places followed suit, it would bring out a different group of fans to the game, much like we saw when Happy Gilmore was playing solid golf.
Now, your thoughts? Should more golf tournaments turn to a fun hole to make it more interesting for the fans?