A new series to the blog, briefly going over some of the things to look out for each week at each Tour event.
TPC Scottsdale is known for the famous stadium hole 16th hole.
While the 16th gets the hype, its design is very bland. A lot of golf’s higher ups don’t like the atmosphere at the 16th. I can understand being a bit leery of the behavior of the fans as it’s almost like you are waiting for something disastrous to happen. However, this is a once a year tradition that takes place when golf is taking a backseat to the Super Bowl and in reality the fans generally handle the 16th really well. They are more or less ‘perfectly rowdy’ which can’t be said for the 17th at the old Buick Open which went overboard.
Most viewers will focus on the 16th at TPC Scottsdale and for good reason, but the 17th and the 18th hole are well designed holes with the 17th being a possible eagle to bogey scores and the 18th being a difficult finishing hole. So between the rowdy 16th, the do or die 17th and the difficult 18th, you’ve got a nice finishing stretch of holes. The 17th is one of the critical holes on the course.
The course was renovated and re-designed in 2014. It turned the course from a pure bomber’s course to more of an iron play course, although the long hitters can still get away with long and inaccurate drives here. They put the waste bunkers more into play off the tee to take away some of the reckless bombing. I’m all for renovating to take away reckless bombing, but personally I think the re-design is a bit tricked up and driving the ball effectively here can often come down to luck.
The greens grass is a mix of various grasses. The greens are also much flatter than the previous event at Torrey Pines. Torrey Pines usually has the second lowest make %’s from 3-5, 5-10 and 10-15 feet on Tour. Scottsdale usually runs near the average for Tour make %’s. However, there’s often a sizeable adjustment and players that played at Torrey Pines the previous week can struggle to make that adjustment to the slope and speed of the greens.
PROJECTED WINNING SCORE = -15
Jordan Spieth +800
Hideki Matsuyama +1000
John Rahm +1800
Keegan Bradley +5000
Marc Leishman +7500
Sean O'Hair +10000
Grayson Murray +12500