SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- It might have changed names in 2010, from the easy to say FBR Open to the Waste Management, but it was still the same. A golf tournament unlike anything you've seen before. It is the only tournament of the year where the boozing is cooler than birdies, and where a guy trying to dig a Phil Mickelson golf ball out of a pond gets a bigger applause than Lee Janzen holing out for eagle on the same hole.
Heading to the tournament on Saturday, I always had that weird anxiety that comes with enormous crowds. "Is this really worth it?" "Will it be as fun as last year?" "What if the WaMo finally disappoints?"
It doesn't, and it probably never will. The bad weather was nice enough to stay away for a few hours, so the forecasted showers were replaced by sunny skies, a light breeze and a success.
I've never been to Augusta National, and I could only imagine how it must feel on Masters Sunday. The goosebumps I dream about probably would stay until the summer. I've always wanted to stand on 17 at Pebble when the final group of a U.S. Open came through, just to totally grasp how sports and nature can coincide so dramatically. I've been on the 17th tee at St. Andrews thinking about having that tee shot with a lead in the British, and I can barely pull the trigger with zero spectators watching.
All those things are pure golf, and if you love the sport you'd trade in your sticks for a chance to be in any of those situations. Still, if you haven't ever been, make it a point in the coming years to visit Scottsdale during tournament week.
It is the only train wreck in the world you would describe as beautiful.