This week’s PGA Tour event is the Wampo! which is the shorter acronym, and hopefully what the twitter hashtag will be for anyone tweeting about the tournament.
Another interesting note is that if you go to their website, they mention that the two words are either “The Greatest Show on Grass” or “The People’s Open”. But then if you go look at their twitter, they use the hashtag #greenestshow for every tweet (and unfortunately not #wampo yet). So many phrases and words that they want associated with their event.
This week I really wanted to post a song from Run the Jewels new awesome album that was released on Christmas, but pretty sure I can’t exactly post one here since every song on this album has a bunch of swear words. So guess I’m going to go with an old Arcade Fire songs from 2010.
The 16th Hole
If you hit the green, the fans will cheer for you. If you miss the green, the fans will boo. This glorious simplicity allows for maximum cheering because most everyone watching at that hole will be drunk all day!
Currently, the 16th hole looks like this, which is an awesome pic from last year by GOTM correspondent Wyatt when he was at the event. The entire hole is surrounded by so many seats it basically looks like a colosseum, which is also what a bunch of people nicknamed the hole at this point!
Interesting that pretty much every seat there these days are boxes, paid for by sponsors, meaning there are only a few normal seats. So if you have a standard ticket and want to watch the 16th hole, you gotta get there early in the morning and just be prepared to sit there until players come through. And probably drink a lot cause that’s what everyone does all day.
Besides how cool the hole looks now, it’s actually interesting to look back on older versions of the hole to see what it looked like before. The most interesting thing to note is how TPC courses designed by Pete Dye are all built with hills on the side of the holes so every fan who’s at that hole watching would be able to see easily above the person in front of them. TPC Sawgrass is like this, so when you watch the Players Championship in May, you can check out some of the same little hills that everyone can see off of.
I posted this video last year, but watch this and you’ll see what it was like with the hills around the hole. And also watch this cause it’s TDubs making a hole in one. Tiger isn’t playing at the Wampo this year, but he might be playing some other tournament this week. Hmmm….
Players to Watch This Week
Jon Rahm — Yes he won last week, but it’s going to be more interesting to mention him for this tournament because he spent his college career at Arizona State so he definitely knows the area, and is probably pumped to be back to the location he spent all that time in. He is obviously talented given he was the #1 amateur in the world, he has played this tournament before in 2015 while in college, and he is coming off a win. As such, I would be more surprised if he were to not be in contention to win this week than if he were.
Rickie Fowler — I’m still so confused how good Rickie Fowler is. in 2015, he finished top 5 in every major, so we all expected him to do great in 2016. But last year he basically sucked comparatively because he wasn’t even able to qualify for the US Ryder Cup team, and needed to be picked to play in it. This year? Who knows. He missed the cut at Torrey Pines last week, but so did a bunch of good players. Missing another cut this week would be a concerning start for Rickie in a season in which other younger players are enjoying great success.
My boi H-dek — I’m not only rooting for H-dek because I picked him in this year’s GOTM Fantasy event, but also because it’s so funny watching him play. I’ve mentioned this before, but seriously, his attitude is so over the top and he believes he should hit every shot perfectly. When he doesn’t hit an approach to 3 feet from the hole, he’ll act annoyed in the fairway and drop the club. Also, really hoping he’ll win here again because I’m currently in last place in the fantasy league.
Steve Stricker! — The soon-to- be 50 year old is the Presidents Cup captain for this year, hosts a Senior Tour event in Wisconsin, and just a great guy who gets to pick wherever he plays. Not sure if he’s been practicing enough or will be any good, but we’re all gonna root for him and his tasty putting.
Jordan Spieth — After not playing for a couple weeks, and having to go to Japan and South Korea to help advertise the new Under Armor golf shoes, he’s back on Tour. And he’s also dropped to number 6 in the world after H-dek jumped him as of this week. Now, these players don’t exactly look at the OWGR and don’t feel badly if they drop. Pretty much all of the top players work and practice and play just to make sure they’re at the top of their games before every major. Phil’s probably the most well known who does that, but I’m sure Spieth is that way too. Regardless, I’m sure Spieth, as well as the golf community, would agree that ’16 was a down year relative to the year prior so it will be interesting to see how he performs as the 2017 gets rolling.
Phil Mickelson — Screw it, if I mentioned Phil in the paragraph above, I’ll talk about him again. He’s finally starting to play better after his surgery, and since he finished T14 last week, we can easily assume he’ll finish better this week. Also interesting about Phil is how much he loves betting during the practice rounds as a way to make practice rounds feel super competitive.
The Super Bowl
Because apparently everyone in the US (and the world) will watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, the Wampo needs to make sure to finish their round right before the start of the football game. For the most part, it’s easy to figure that timing out cause they can add how long each round takes to the tee times of the last group. Easy. Well easy except for last year’s event when H-dek and Fowler were in a 4 hole playoff and H-dek finally won the tournament like 45 minutes after the start of the game. I remember last year that I would flip back and forth to watch the golf and football at the same time, but this year, since the Packers got crushed last week and aren’t in the Super Bowl, pretty sure I’ll just be watching the golf the entire time no matter what.
Dubai / Tiger
Euro Tour is still over in the Middle East this week, but this time, it’s a little better than last week’s event for a couple reasons I’ll lay out below. First, though, check out the Euro Tour schedule to see where they play:
They start the year in South Africa, then Australia, then Hong Kong. Then back to South Africa (where Rory lost in a playoff and got injured), then the three tournaments in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Dubai), Malaysia, Australia again, South Africa (for the third time), then Mexico (Mexico! In North America!), South Africa (4th time), India, then the WGC Match Play, the Masters, Morocco, and then finally two tourneys in China.
They literally aren’t playing a tournament in Europe until May 11th somewhere in Portugal! I get that weather might be an issue or something, but damn, that’s a ton of international play.
The PGA Tour actually plays internationally a few times as well. This past fall, at the start of the 2016-2017 season, they played in Malaysia, China, Australia, Mexico, Australia, and then the Bahamas before the start of the new year. With all of those tournaments, and because of a new commissioner, I’m really curious what the schedule difference will be in the next few years. Will there be more foreign PGA Tour events? Maybe foreign events that are combos with the European Tour? I’m guessing those both will happen.
Anyway, back to Dubai. The absolute best thing about the tournament this week is that Tiger’s playing! A close second is the fact that they apparently hit golf shots off of this giant helipad that they have there.
If you’re ever bored this week, you should really check out Dubai and about how all of the architecture and houses and stores and golf courses and beaches were built when it started as just a desert from back in the day. There are tons of cool pictures out there to go along with that information. And after reading all of that makes me want to go travel there at some point now.
The other coolest thing about the tournament this week is that because of the time zone difference, the first round begins on the Golf Channel at 11 PM Eastern! Which means that everyone should just plan on staying up late in the middle of the week to check out some live golf on the day before we’re used to tournaments starting. Also, have to hope that Tiger tees off in the morning on Wednesday so we can all stay up late just to watch him.