b'TPC designation, the adjacent Playing TPC ScottsdaleFairmont Princess Hotel, an amazing sight in its own right, must from the tips maintain a 5-Star AAA rating. (El Toro, the clubhouse restaurant, clearly contributes to the esteemed What happens when a mid-handicapper playspropertys high status. Sushi and a PGA Tour courseit might not be pretty tacos on the same menu?! Yes!)Back to golf. One of my playing companions, also a BY CRAI S. BOWER thought it wouldmid-handicapper in the 12.5 be amusing torange, says his goal on every I didnt want to be that guy, so Iplay from the prohole is to putt for par. He asked our caddie to inform the resttees on a coursefigures hell sink a few and of my foursome on the first tee atthat was alreadyalso get a birdie look now and the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Coursesynonymous withthen, though more that I will be playing from the tipsabsurdity, like buildingHole No. 14 atoften than not he for a humor piece.a 20,000-person arena aroundTPC Scottsdalesettles for a bogey. What I didnt know at the timean otherwise benign par 3, the from the tips, was that a pair was alreadyinfamous 16th.a 490-yardVery reasonable. planning to play from 7,262 yards.The 16th has accomplished whatpar 4. WhosHowever, par The other single agreed as well.not even Scottsdale local Garykidding who? putts also suggest And so, instantly I was thatMcCord could pull offgettinga lack of blow-guy, the golf writer who identifiestodays buttoned-up PGA Tour proup holes, the curse of the high himself at the start of the roundto chill out and have some fun, ifhandicapper who often purrs along and then annoys his group withonly for 162 yards. The arena is sowith a decent score only to sabotage anecdotes about this or that linksimposing on TV I assumed it wasthe scorecard with a triple or two. course in Scotland, what Rickiepermanent. Back at the Stadium Course, I Fowler is really like, and howIn fact, scores of workersfound myself putting for par on the awesome it is to watch the U.S.begin constructing the stands onfirst four holes, two 400+ yard par Open from the press-only areas,September 1, four months before4s, and a moderate 558-yard par 5, reliably the best vantage points onthe Waste Management Phoenixone of only two birdie putts on the the course.Open takes place in early February.day. It wasnt that the desert air and One player in our group, Riley, hadThe structure also takes twosome altitude suddenly boosted my every right to play from the back,months to dismantle.reliable 230-yard drive another 40 birdieing the 490-yard par-4 14thyards, rather it was decent wedge I played Royal Portrush twoplay that allowed me to get close on and eagling the drivable 332-yardweeks before the 2019 Openthese three-shot par 4s. 17th (though it took a 100-foot puttChampionship (yes, Im that guy,) to do so), on his way to a 1-under 70.and there wasnt nearly as muchAt this point, I figured an (He would have shot 69 or 68 but Iconstruction or control over theafternoon of driver/3-wood/wedge was that guy who jinxed him on thecourse as at TPC Scottsdale in mid- would be just fine and I might even 18th tee by asking about his score.)November. I also saw more luxurybreak 90. Ha!Okay, so Rileys a scratch golfer.boxes being built than at AT&TI also worried my good fortune And here I must tell you that I amStadium in Dallas.at being 3-over through four holes not a scratch golfer, which is why II even learned that to keep themight have more to do with the 20PACIFIC NORTHWEST GOLFER| DEC 2021'