As the world's biggest sporting event nears, golf's biggest spectacle tees things off. The Waste Management Phoenix Open annually takes place on Super Bowl weekend, starting the party on Thursday and carrying on through Sunday. Here are five things you need to know about the best-attended golf tournament in the world, its TPC Scottsdale course, and the surrounding area:
1) The 16th hole is the craziest in all of golf
TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole is a 162-yard par 3. Nothing too crazy there, but it's lined with stadium seating and filled with thousands of fans who boo or cheer depending on where your tee shot lands. Holes-in-one are epic:
Singing and dancing sometimes breaks out:
And the caddie races are classic. Rather, we should say "were" because the PGA Tour recently banned them.
2) You might as well golf yourself
The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is sort of a golfing mecca. While you're in town to watch some golf, you might as well play yourself. If you can get on at the private Estancia Golf Club, you'd be playing Golf Digest's No. 1 course in Arizona. But you'll have a better shot at getting on at Troon North Golf Club, which is across the street from Estancia. Just save up before you show up – one round will cost you $175 minimum at Troon North.
3) Scottsdale boasts the most spas in the country
According to TripAdvsor.com, "Scottsdale has more spas per capita than any other city in the U.S." One of the best is the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale hotel that borders TPC Scottsdale. Among the bevy of spa treatments is the "Golf Performance Massage," which is exclusive to Willow Stream Spas and endorsed by David Leadbetter, the celebrated golf instructor, and Charles Howell III, the PGA Tour pro. It's a combination of massage, stretching and acupressure meant to improve balance and swing rotation.
4) Make it your mission to eat at The Mission
Right in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale is The Mission, which ranks as the No. 1 restaurant in Scottsdale on Yelp.com. Its modern Latin cuisine is just 20 minutes south of TPC Scottsdale. We recommend the pork shoulder tacos – smoked and slow braised for 12 hours in a pineapple habanero glaze.
5) Watch the game at Blue 32
If you're in town this week, you need a place to watch the Super Bowl. Head south on Scottsdale Boulevard from TPC Scottsdale and you'll find Blue 32 Sports Grill. TVs cover the walls, the food is good and cheap (if you've got a strong stomach, try the Hot Texas Burger – jalapenos, bacon, lettuce, onion, mustard, mayo and Tabasco sauce), and they feature local breweries, like the Four Peaks Brewery and in Tempe and SunUp Brewery in Phoenix. Blue 32 was among the top Arizona sports bars listed in CNN's "101 of the best sports bars in the U.S."
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