Only four events into the 2013 season, and the PGA Tour has had to suspend, postpone, and downright cancel several rounds already. Not to worry, though, because NBA-star-turned-hopeless-golf-project-turned-weather-seer Charles Barkley promises nothing but blue skies, sunshine, and temperatures in the 70s for this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
"That’s what I shot on the front side," said Sir Charles, pointing to the projected forecast of 72 (degrees) on the screen of a local Phoenix television station after he surprised the ABC affiliate’s meteorologist during a recent weather report.
While Barkley earned less-than-stellar reviews for his turn as TV weatherman, the Phoenix Open -- and especially the boisterous par-3 16th hole -- never fails to live up to its billing as the rowdiest shindig on the tour’s calendar.
Reigning Masters champ Bubba Watson’s feeling much better after the flu forced him to withdraw from last week’s Farmers Insurance Open and will headline a field of five of the top 20 in the world slated to tee it up at TPC Scottsdale. Two-time Phoenix winner and Arizona State grad Phil Mickelson hopes to get his game back on track after four rounds in the 70s and a T51 finish at Torrey Pines, while Rickie Fowler will see if he can build on his strong close (65, 69, 68/T6) at the Farmers after carding a last-place 77 in the first round.
Other notables include Kyle Stanley, who bounced back from a heart-breaking loss at Torrey Pines the week before to claim victory at last year’s Phoenix Open, and Europe Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer, making his first start as a full-fledged member of the PGA Tour.
The enclosed 16th is, of course, the star of TPC Scottsdale, a 7,216-yard, par-71 track designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morris. As befits its status, Golf Channel will feature the notorious par-3 -- as well as the 15th and 17th holes -- when it debuts its 2013 three-hole "Spotlight" coverage.
Golf Channel, which, along with NBC, will televise this week's contest, will dedicate eight cameras to the players and booze-infused party-goers who make "The Coliseum" an experience unlike any other on tour.