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.