SCOTTSDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - The Waste Management Phoenix Open and Super Bowl are both being staged this week in the Phoenix area and Patrick Reed, one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour, is licking his lips in anticipation.
The National Football League’s showpiece is the biggest sports event in the United States while the $6.3 million Phoenix Open, played at the TPC Scottsdale, is renowned for its raucous crowds and the loudest hole in golf.
Add to that the return of former world number one Tiger Woods to PGA Tour action this week, for the first time in five months, and you have all the ingredients for a sporting extravaganza in the Grand Canyon State over the next five days.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” American Reed told Reuters on Tuesday after completing a practice round on the par-71 TPC Scottsdale layout.
“We golfers are really looking forward to this week and hopefully we will hit a lot of good shots and get the crowds here roaring even louder.”
Reed, aged 24 and already a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, made his debut at the Phoenix Open on Scottsdale’s Stadium Course last year and has vivid memories of the infamous par-three 16th, the noisiest hole in golf.
Thousands of spectators cram into the bleachers and sky boxes surrounding the 163-yard hole, many more swarming across the grassed hill that faces the green, and they loudly boo any golfer who fails to hit the green off the tee.
“I got booed three times because I missed the green three out of four days,” grinned Reed, who tied for 19th here last year. “But the one time I hit the green, I one-hopped it into the stick to about a foot so I played the hole in under par and that’s all you can ask for.”
Reed, who 15 days ago won the PGA Tour’s opening event of the year, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, will tee off in a high-profile grouping for Thursday’s opening round at Scottsdale with fellow young gun Jordan Spieth and Woods.
Masters champion Bubba Watson, the world number four, heads a strong field this week in the Arizona desert where 10th-ranked American Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler (11th) and three-times former winner Phil Mickelson are also competing.
The Super Bowl is played on Sunday at the nearby University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Editing by Frank Pingue