Having long felt like the course was a three or four-hole gem with the rest pretty ordinary, I was excited when news of Tom Weiskopf's hiring was announced and we wrote about it on The Loop.
After seeing Shane Bacon's Back9 tour with Weiskopf along with the drone shots, the whole lunar-golf-in-the-desert vibe of the course looks lost to unsightly flashed white bunkers, making the prospect for a revamped TPC Scottsdale became a lot less exciting. Seeing more shots in this Matt Ginella-Rex Hoggard chat on Morning Drive really highlighted the horrible look of bright white sand fighting the desert's browner hues.
AP's John Nicholson previewed the re-opening and Weiskopf also touched on the Church Pews added to the 18th hole.
Out of respect for the historic Pennsylvania club's Church Pews bunker, the course architect refers to the four long, thin strips of raised, turfed ground as islands.
"That's reserved for Oakmont. There is only one Church Pews," Weiskopf said. "Those are islands in there. Four islands. Big islands. Some people call them church pews. They can call them whatever they want. You don't want to be in there."
This will also be one of the few renovations with bunker placement based on ShotLink data, all because the guys are eating their kale.
Weiskopf used ShotLink data from the last five years to put the fairway bunkers back in play for even the longest hitters. He cut the number of bunkers from 73 to 66 and filled them with white sand that area tour players tested for two years on the back range.
Also surprising is seeing some bunkers shallower than they were in the past, especially at the famed 16th. During the pro-am, Tiger's release pattern miscue (once called a shank) is notable in part because (A) he shanked a bunker shot, and (B) how shallow that bunker now appears.