TPC Scottsdale, the home of the biggest party-hole in all of golf -- the par-3 16th -- plays host once again this week to the PGA Tour's Waste Management Open.
Kyle Stanley returns as the defending champion after a remarkable week of redemption a year ago. Stanley suffered a crushing defeat in the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, losing a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole before falling to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff. A week later, Stanley bounced back from what could have been a devastating blow to his career to win the Waste Management Open.
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Before this week's tournament teed off, we caught up with TPC Scottsdale PGA Head Professional Greg Wolf for a little Q&A.
Wolf talked a little about the tournament, but also about why the Phoenix/Scottsdale area is such a great place to visit.
PGA.com: Thanks for joining us, Greg. Let's start out with a few words on your defending champion, Kyle Stanely. For those who don't remember, it was at Torrey Pines in 2012 where the young Stanley lost in a playoff to Brandt Snedeker after taking a three-shot lead into the 72nd hole. People thought, mentally, he'd be damaged for years to come whenever -- if ever -- Stanley got into contention again. Well, fast forward seven days and he wins the Waste Management Open. What an incredible comeback story. What was it like to watch that?
Wolf: Wish I knew what is like to watch it, but I was too busy working. People ask me all the time about watching the event or the partying that goes on during the event. They all get the same answer, "Yep, looks like everyone is having fun." As fun as it looks, I'd much rather be doing what I do that week. Although I wouldn't mine taking in the festivities one day!
PGA.com: Everyone knows that the Waste Management Open is the biggest and best party on the PGA Tour all year long. For those visiting from out of town, where should they eat, play some golf and experience the Phoenix/Scottsdale nightlife?
Wolf: Well playing golf is pretty simple. You can play here -- we're a public facility. The only course that you can play where the pros play. We also have our Champions course located across the street which hosts the final stage of Champions Tour Q-School every other year. Besides our courses, I believe there are over 200 courses within a one-hour drive of central Phoenix. As far as nightlife goes, Old Town Scottsdale is the place to be. The crowds you see during the WMPO are usually in Old Town the other 51 weeks of the year.
PGA.com: Speaking of Old Town, you always hear people who have visited Scottsdale talk about it. Can you tell us a little about Old Town and what makes it so special?
Wolf: Four things. 1. The history behind Scottsdale and the OLD WEST theme in some areas; 2. The shopping is unbelievable, though not my thing. Whatever you're looking for, good chance it's in Old Town; 3. The restaurants rival NYC, Vegas, LA, San Fran, etc. You can't beat the food and atmosphere Old Town has to offer; 4. The nightlife is bar none the best. I'm pretty much past the party season now that I have two kids (Ella & Mason), but my wife and I had a blast for as number of years!
PGA.com: There are so many great golf courses in your area. Which course -- that the general public can play -- provides the best bang for the buck?
Wolf: Our Champions Course is probably the best bang for the buck. Ever since it was remodeled in 2007, it has become my favorite course. The design and conditions are second to none. It doesn't get the credit it deserves because of its big brother, but I actually prefer to play the Champions over the Stadium.
PGA.com: One last question for you, Greg. What has been your single most memorable moment at TPC Scottsdale?
Wolf: Meeting my wife Stephanie. When I was an assistant back in 2000, she was a beverage cart attendant and we hit it off pretty quick. As I mentioned earlier, we had a lot of fun in Old Town. I don't know what I'd be doing if I didn't meet her, but I know I wouldn't be as happy as I am now.