Friday, January 30, 2009

A Beautiful Thing -- Once In A While

The par-3 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale, site of the FBR Open this week, is 162 yards of beer-fueled, bet-making, boo-bringing fun.
It’s everything golf isn’t supposed to be – loud and rowdy with a touch of rock and roll.
It’s as subtle as Anthony Kim’s belt buckles.
And it’s what the PGA Tour could use more of.
Not a lot more, but a little more.
The 16th hole is truly stadium golf, a par-3 completely encircled by bleachers and hospitality tents, holding upwards of 20,000 fans, some of whom are actually there for the golf.
Lousy shots are booed, good shots cheered and memorable shots – like Tiger Woods’ ace there in 1996 – become a part of history.
You wouldn’t want it every week. It’s not the vibe they’re going for at Quail Hollow’s 17th during the Wachovia Championship or the 12th at Augusta National.
But in a sport that too often takes itself far too seriously (tour players who don’t smile after making a birdie or a putt longer than 15 feet should be forced to buy their own lunch), the 16th hole in Phoenix is like a frat party.
You don’t want to go to one every night but once in a while, they’re a blast.