Category: TPC Scottsdale

January 29, 2013

VIDEO: Watch Charles Barkley give Phoenix Open weather report

Posted at 2:27 PM by Mike Walker

Add meteorology to the long list of things Charles Barkley does better than play golf.

The NBA Hall of Famer, TNT broadcaster and passionate hacker interrupted the TV weather report on ABC15-TV Phoenix to find out what the forecast will be for this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open pro-am and tournament at TPC Scottsdale. Look out, Al Roker!


VIDEO: Talking Golf With Charles Barkley

GARY VAN SICKLE: Why Haney Couldn't Fix Barkley

JACK MCCALLUM: Charles Barkley: No. 1 Tortured Golf Soul

February 06, 2012

Truth & Rumors: David Feherty backs Tim Tebow for president

Posted at 12:53 PM by Mick Rouse

During his live Super Bowl special, David Feherty sat down with Tim Tebow and pressed the young QB if leading the nation could be in his future after he finishes leading mediocre football teams to playoff berths. Feherty pleaded his case to Tebow, saying, “Would you ever think of running for office? Please? Because, here’s the thing, we’ve got Romney and Gingrich here at the minute and I don’t know what anybody else thinks, but they’ve got the sort of faces you never get tired of punching.” 

Tebow didn’t completely knock the notion, though, responding, “For me, it could be something in my future. It’s something I’ll have to think about and pray about.” 

Check out an excerpt of Feherty’s interview with Tebow in the video below, as well as extended clips from his Super Bowl special. 



Golf Boys reunion 

It may not be as big news as the Beach Boys's 50th anniversary reunion and tour, but for a brief moment, Ben Crane and Bubba Watson, one-half of golf’s favorite boy band, kept the party going on TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole. Missing in action from the impromptu concert was Rickie Fowler, who was in a different playing group at the Phoenix Open, and Hunter Mahan, who was busy getting cut in Qatar


I may be alone in this, but I never get sick of Ben Crane’s racing helmet and goggles. For more images of the Waste Management Open’s party hole, check out our gallery here

Nager appointed as USGA’s 62nd president 

During the USGA’s annual meeting in Houston, Glen Nager was announced as the 62nd president of North American golf’s governing body, reports Ryan Ballengee. Nager has been elected to serve a one-year term and hopes to keep the organization focused on challenges faced by predecessor Jim Hyler, including improving participation and environmental stewardship in the game. 

“At a time when the game faces increasingly complex challenges, we must recommit ourselves to the USGA’s mission,” Nager said at the annual meeting. “To sustain the game, we must do more. We have to promote a more enjoyable, more affordable and more welcoming experience for golfers – without fundamentally changing the game itself.” 

Nager, 53, resides in Washington, D.C. where he is a partner in the Jones Day law firm. He has an extensive background in constitutional law and has argued 13 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nager is also a single-handicap golfer and was named the volunteer general counsel of the USGA in 2006. He most recently served as chairman of the USGA’s Rules of Golf, Commercial and Compensation committee.

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February 05, 2011

The party finally gets started at TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole

Posted at 7:19 AM by Stephanie Wei

Nothing else in golf compares to the famed 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Phoenix Open, but with the frigid temperatures (43 degrees at noon) on Thursday, the usually rowdy crowd was disappointingly well behaved. With slightly warmer temperatures on Friday, the fans were livelier and even a little disruptive, but they're probably saving their best for Saturday. I showed up to 16 around 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon and the mood was festive enough to give me a buzz.

Some highlights of the day:

*On the walk to No. 16, I passed the chipping practice area and spotted PGA Tour rookie Daniel Summerhays and second-year player Alex Prugh. (Both guys had the day off because of the frost delay on Thursday.) I stopped to ask about their first experience on 16.

"Honestly, I didn't get all that nervous," said Summerhays. "It was fun having so many people watching you hit a golf shot. It's amazing. I wasn't nervous walking to 16 because I was mad that I made par on 15. But it's a cool feeling when you're walking through that tunnel. It's like you're coming into an arena, like the gladiators, and you're coming out to fight. It was a little more docile yesterday. We just made three pars in our group, so the fans were like, 'OK, good job, guys. Get the next group out here.'"

*Prugh wasn't rattled either. "The taunts and booing doesn't really get to me," he said. "I was just more pissed I missed a four-footer. It's one of those things I can't wait to play tomorrow. It's what makes the tournament. My caddie told me later that people were chanting "Noonan," like from Caddyshack. Fortunately, I didn't hear it. I was just focusing on trying to birdie the next hole."

*I met Dan Fox, a member of the Thunderbirds charity group which organizes the tournament, on the 16th tee on Thursday, and he invited me to sit up in the box seats with him and his buddies Friday. (Not surprisingly it felt business-casual corporate, but I was happy to get a padded seat and waitress service.) Dan says if you want to do business in Scottsdale/Phoenix this week, you have to be at the tournament because no one is at work.

*The first group I watched was Brandon Smith, Tommy Gainey and Chris Kirk. When Smith, an alum of University of Arizona, approached the tee, fans in the boxes on the right side of the tee chanted, "U of A! U of A!" He raised his arm up to silence them and they politely settled down. He pulled his tee shot and his ball was headed toward the left bunker, but he got a lucky bounce right (which doesn't typically happen because everything funnels left) and ended up on the fringe about 20 feet from the back-left pin. Initially, fans chanted "ASU! ASU" because they thought he hit a poor shot, but after it turned out well, they chanted, "U of A!" again. Smith threw his arms up in celebration. His caddie handed Smith his bag and sprinted to the green because the fans in the stands by the green play "caddie races," where they bet on which caddie touches the green first.

*Fox thinks Saturday afternoon will produce the largest crowd ever. "It's still a little tame," he said. "Everyone is waiting to be here tomorrow because of the cold weather the past few days. Tomorrow afternoon the TPC Scottsdale will be the third largest city in Arizona."

*When Michael Putnam, whom I've known since I was 14 from sharing the same swing coach, approached the tee, I had everyone around me yell, "Putty!" He looked over, saw me and shook his head while laughing. (He gives me a hard time like a big brother, so this was a small form of payback.) Apparently he was a little rattled because he pulled his shot into the bunker. Then he skulled it out to the other side of the green. Fans near the green yelled, "I smell 5!"

*The group of Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Geoff Ogilvy were next on the tee. After Ogilvy knocked one in the left bunker (I swear, it's like a magnet over there), he tossed his club at his bag in disgust. Boos ensued (because of the shot).

Dustin Johnson hit it to 12 feet, the closest I saw all day. Walking down the fairway, he passed out a few TaylorMade hats to the crowd. "No, I wasn't trying to bribe them," Johnson laughed after play was suspended due to darkness. "Everyone gets a little nervous, but it was good. They were pretty good to me today."

After Mahan's tee shot came up short, he had a chip, which he caught it a little heavy and left 12-feet short. I spoke to a group of guys in the stands who said they discussed yelling, "Ryder Cup," but decided it was too cruel.

*When anyone hit a poor first putt, the crowd yelled, "Three-putt!"

*During Anthony Kim's backswing, someone in the skybox seating shouted, "Shank!" The marshal by the 16th tee said tournament organizers couldn't find the culprit, but they had an APB out on him. Good luck with that.

*I stopped to talk to some fans, including brothers Kelly and Neal Degenstein from Anchorage, Alaska, who attend the Phoenix Open every year. "I'm an older guy hanging around a bunch of younger guys full of enthusiasm, having a blast, and I'm feeling younger myself," said Kelly. Added Neal: "This whole tournament is spectacular and we're loving it. We come down specifically for the Phoenix Open from Alaska."

*Says Andy Bednar from Las Vegas: "This atmosphere is the best in the country. No matter what, it's hands-down the best tournament experience you can ever be in. I've been talking a lot of s---. Anytime a player misses a green, I'm automatically booing them because I know I can hit a 9-iron closer than them."

*I ambushed several players trying to flee the course after play was supsended due to darkness:

Davis Love III: "It was real quiet when I went through. Nice and boring. I didn't hit a good shot, but they didn't boo because I think they were still frozen."

Ryuji Imada: "We were the last group on 16 today, so there were only 50 people. Nothing really interesting happened. It's a fun hole if you hit a good shot. I get excited about playing the 16th. I wouldn't say I get nervous. I get more mad (at the fans)."

Nick Watney missed the green, but then chipped in for birdie. "I got booed on the tee because I missed the green," said Watney. "I didn't hear anything too offensive on the tee. I heard a guy yell that I'm a handsome man, which I didn't really understand. I've never heard that before from a golf crowd."

Mark Wilson: "I played with Jerry Kelly and Rocco Mediate, and the fans love Rocco. They were screaming and hollering for Rocco. But yeah, nothing crazy this time. I've learned to just enjoy them and it's really fun if you just embrace the situation." I asked if Wilson heard anything crazy today. "No, they always like to throw in my birthday because I was born on Halloween. I always hear that one every year, so hopefully they'll come up with something a little bit more unique."

I hope so, too. I'm camping out by the 16th tee on Saturday afternoon and looking forward to seeing what kind of dirt the fans have dug up on Google. There's a reason why the Phoenix Open produces the highest attendance numbers on the PGA Tour — a golf tournament is a lot cooler when it's a party.


February 04, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Phil Mickelson reveals the secret of his precision

Posted at 11:53 AM by Alan Bastable

When Phil Mickelson ordered his caddie to tend the flagstick for a 72-yard wedge shot last week at Torrey Pines, there was some debate as to whether it was a smart play or a showy one. At the Waste Management Open this week, Mickelson helped put that discussion to rest when he revealed one of the laborious iron-game drills he executes under Dave Pelz's watch—and the staggering precision he has gained from it. Golfweek's James Achenbach reports:

"We don't work with technique, we work on how to practice," Mickelson said. "When we work, we're building a foundation that carries over to the golf course. For instance, I do a towel drill where I try to fly my irons a specific yardage, and I hit 1,500 balls a month to those specific yardages and have for the last seven years.

"So when I get a wedge shot like No. 18 (at Torrey Pines) that's 72 yards and my towel drill number is 75, I only have to alter it three yards to get it to fly to my number. And over seven years of doing this, I can usually fly it within a yard 95 percent of the time."

Mickelson also said he has switched to a softer, spinnier ball in 2011, the Callaway Tour i(s), which has been a boon to him in chillier weather.

"When it gets cold, [my former] ball doesn't compress as well, and when it hits the face, the face actually moves, and the misses get exaggerated, and this golf ball doesn't do that. This golf ball compresses very easily, so I hit it a lot straighter in cold conditions."

Think Phil's a savant? Get a load of Bubba Watson.

Phoenix Open = 'Chaos with cleavage'
Nice job by The Wall Street Journal's David Weiss
, who captures the ever-colorful and much-publicized scene at the Waste Management Phoenix Open without dragging out the same old tired clichés. (He did slip up by framing the rowdy 16th hole as the "Roman Colosseum of par-threes," but that was neutralized by likening Hunter Mahan to a "jam-band rhythm guitarist"):

Saddling the game's younger fans with hoary concepts like politesse and restraint is so last millennium. Phoenix locals have come to regard this PGA Tour event as a mere green-screen backdrop for 96 hours of drunken tomfoolery; they could as easily be at a NASCAR race or the Kentucky Derby. The atmosphere at this weekend's festivities is more WWF than R&A, a kind of bentgrass, suburban Woodstock.

The same TV network that treats Augusta National as sacred ground doesn't object. "Chaos with cleavage," is what golf pro and CBS analyst Gary McCord calls this week's proceedings at TPC Scottsdale. "That's about it—and if the weather is good, it's frightening." (So far it isn't—more like frigid.)

So we can cut the PGA Tour a little slack this weekend. With the rock 'n roll Super Bowl sucking all of the media oxygen out of the country, crew-cutted and conservative golf needs a little razzmatazz just to keep up. They don't have Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson to spice up the proceedings with "accidental" nudity, even though CBS could find plenty of girls-gone-wild moments in the gallery if they so chose.

Chicago 'golf dome' deflated by storm
Golfers can't seem to catch a break this winter, especially in Chicago, where even indoor golf has been ravaged by the inclement conditions. Witness the "inflatable" practice range in Frankfurt, Ill., which after this week's storm now looks like a "giant deflated balloon," according to The Joliet Herald-News.

The range owner, Maggie McEnery, said she guessed the dome's skin will be completely replaced within two weeks. She did not know the cost of the damage but said insurance will cover it.

Unfortunately, McEnery said, she will miss out on potential business during the time it takes to fix the dome. "We were just starting to start rocking that dome," McEnery said. "The (customers) were trying out all of their new Christmas toys."

OK, so a pack of pot-bellied guys with R11s isn't exactly the Black Eyed Peas. But you hear her point.

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Ogilvy @geoffogilvy: Went for a run in the Valley of the Sun this morning. It was like running in a fridge.

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