Greetings from Scottsdale, the highly aerobicized high-desert city, Silicone Valley of the Southwest.
A lot of work gets done here on elliptical machines, but even more under anesthesia. Why, I haven’t seen so many false fronts since the last time I played my favorite Donald Ross design.
Rim-shot. Drum roll. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll be here all week.
Actually, we’ll be here till late Sunday, when the drama builds to edge-of-the-seat excitement and we finally crown a champion in the big event.
I’m picking the Seahawks.
As for this Waste Management thing, it’s up for grabs. Harris English and Greg Chalmers are out to a fast start this week. So is Bubba Watson, following a 64-66 in his first two rounds.
Always a crowd favorite here, Watson wowed the throngs on Thursday by lasering a nine-iron to six feet on the notoriously rowdy 178-yard 16th hole. Nice reaction from the grandstands. But it still wasn’t as loud as Rickie Fowler’s pants.
The 16th was more subdued on Friday, as it was everywhere at the TPC at Scottsdale. A cloud clover blew in, and the weather turned, a chill wind sweeping over the sandy wastes and saguaros. How cold did it get? I’m glad you asked. It got so cold I saw three marshals huddled for warmth in Graham DeLaet’s beard.
Ok, so it was 60 degrees. But Scottsdale’s a different place.
And this is a different tournament: the Greatest Show on Turf, a Sigma Chi kegger on manicured sod.
It’s the most heavily attended event each year on Tour. In 2013, more than half-million fans turned up, some of them sober and fully clothed.
This year, not as much. The drop mercury has so far inspired forced modesty.
Take Melissa Angulo and Lynzee Stauss, two party-happy spectators from nearby Gilbert, Arizona. When they showed up this morning, they were wearing skimpy shorts and halters. But by the time I came across them, in the frigid early afternoon, I almost mistook them for the modestly dressed ghosts of Mother Teresa.
“We said to ourselves, ‘This is way too cold,'” Angulo said. “So we went to Ross and bought some stuff to layer up with.”
Some women I know wouldn’t be caught dead in outfits like these. Take my wife.
Better yet, take Matt Jones’ wife -- then ask her if she has a twin sister for me.
But seriously, like English and Watson, Jones is playing well—-tied for the lead with Bubba at 12 under par.
Let’s see how he holds up tomorrow, when he’s paired with the big hitting lefty, coming down the raucous stretch.
The weather report shows more chilly weather, but the Saturday forecast here always calls for rowdy gatherings at 16.
We’ll check in on the action from that festive setting as the third round unfolds.