After hosting golf's biggest tee party for 28 years, the Stadium course at TPC Scottsdale was due for a little spring cleaning.
Enter Tom Weiskopf, with a bulldozer serving as his Shop-Vac. Weiskopf, the original co-designer (with Jay Morrish) of the Stadium course in 1986, helped engineer a seven-month makeover that included moving and reshaping bunkers, realigning several fairways, and resurfacing, recontouring and — in the case of four holes — relocating the greens. Other improvements include enhanced landscaping, altered cart paths and updated irrigation.
Don't worry. You'll still recognize the course, which reopened on Wednesday. The showpiece holes (15, 16 and 17) remain largely unchanged. But observant players and fans will notice significant differences elsewhere.
Gone is the option of hitting it left on the dual-fairway, par-513th. A new bunker scheme has been added to the green complex, including a tiny, semi-blind trap shaped like a coffin. The most impressive change occurs at the par-4 14th; the hole was shifted to the left and now demands an uphill approach to a green carved from a hillside, with the handsome McDowell Mountains pressing the heavens in the distance. The par-4 18th now features "church pew" bunkers beyond the lake.
While the Stadium course has never been the Valley of the Sun's beauty queen, the course has always boasted many virtues, which were long obscured by the circus-like atmosphere that dominates the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"The back nine is a great test, with many risk/reward situations," Weiskopf says. "Anything can happen."
With a few design tweaks and some tidying up of the desert, the TPC Scottsdale's Stadium course will test the best for the next 28 years.