In golf, there's just nothing like the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale.
Measuring just 162 yards, it doesn't seem like much on paper. But, for one week a year what's on paper doesn't tell the story.
That one week a year happens to be this week, as the PGA Tour is in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open. The Colosseum-like 16th is completely enclosed with bleachers that are filled with rowdy fans. It's a sight to behold.
Before the start of the Waste Management Open, we caught up with TPC Scottsdale PGA Head Professional Greg Wolf, who talked about the return of J.B. Holmes from brain surgery, made a Super Bowl prediction, touched on No. 16 and more.
PGA.com: Thank you so much for joining us, Greg. There's plenty to talk about this week on the heels of the Waste Management Open, so let's start with a former two-time tournament winner -- J.B. Holmes. This will be J.B.'s second start since having brain surgery in the fall. He missed the cut last week at Torrey Pines, but the fact that he's playing makes this already a remarkable comeback story. What does it mean to the folks in Phoenix and Scottsdale to have J.B. back and set to play?
Wolf:J.B. is a great guy and a great champion. I saw him yesterday and he looks great. I can't really play favorites to anyone, but we're all rooting for him to play well here and the rest of the year.
PGA.com: Your defending champion, Mark Wilson, is already a winner in 2012 having been victorious two weeks ago at the Humana Challenge. What do you like most about his game?
Wolf:I wish I knew what he was doing, because you can bet I would try to do the same! He just plays so steady and looks comfortable out on the course. He's clearly playing with lots of confidence and it shows on the leaderboard.
PGA.com: As is usually the case at TPC Scottsdale, I'm sure the fan-favorite will be Phil Mickelson. How much does his presence mean to the tournament?
Wolf:It's huge. The fans love him and he embraces the crowd. He was signing autographs for what seemed like hours after the Pro-Am on Wednesday and I'm sure he will do the same on Sunday.
PGA.com: Everyone knows that TPC Scottsdale is famous for the par-3 16th hole. The fans there are crazy -- in a fun way, of course. It's gotten to the point where the hole is completely enclosed by stands and is just an awesome sight to take in. There's some good-natured ribbing that the players get when their tee shots aren't up to par in the eyes of the fans. What's the funniest thing you've ever heard a fan yell out on that hole?
Wolf:You would need ask my wife that question. She's out there with the crowd and I try to stay far away! I hear they do their research. How they find out pet names, old girlfriends, etc. is a mystery to me. If you're good to the crowd, they are good to you. If your not nice to the crowd, you may hear something you don't want the next day.
PGA.com: So, if everything goes according to plan, the Waste Management Open should be ending just before the New England Patriots and New York Giants kick off Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. I'm sure you think that my hometown Pats will get revenge, right? Can you give us your prediction for the game?
Wolf:You would think they would get their revenge, just like you would have thought they would have won a few years back! Should be a good game, too bad I won't see it AGAIN! I won't side step the question so I'll go with the G-Men. The better defense should win. Being more of a hockey guy, I just need to give my blue shirts some love. It's been a long time since we've played the way we are now and I'm loking forward to the second half of the season. LET'S GO RANGERS!
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