Tom Weiskopf spent nearly every day at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium course this summer overseeing renovations at his course.
Though he calls Montana his full-time home, TPC Scottsdale is still one of Weiskopf's signature designs (along with co-designer Jay Morrish), which is why Weiskopf wanted to return to Arizona to oversee the entire course refreshing.
The course will re-open on Nov. 15 after being closed from April-November to implement the changes. Superintendent Jeff Plotts, who has been at TPC Scottsdale the last 10 years, gave me a tour of the facility last week before it opens. Here's a photo summary of the touch-ups that you'll see when the PGA Tour heads here again for the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Super Bowl weekend.
The view down No. 1 tee will look pretty similar to anyone who's seen it. Moving some desert off the fairway will give players more options off the tee. This slight tweak reflects the theme of the changes overall at the Stadium course: an aesthetic "refreshing" of the course to modernize it both for the PGA Tour player and the daily resort player.
As a fan of classic architecture, Weiskopf added a coffin bunker on the front of the par-5 13th is a nod to St. Andrews. It's a change intended to add some signature to the par 5. And if you go for the green from the tightened fairway, there's certainly a chance you'd end up in here.
One of the more significant changes to the Stadium course comes at the par-3 fourth hole. Weiskopf elevated the green significantly, to add more difficult to this hole that will play about 195 yards now from the championship tees.
As another nod to classic design elements, Weiskopf has redone the fairway bunkers here at the 18th hole to include church-pew rows, a la Oakmont. The carry over the water had become a standard line for pros (above photo). Now, these church pews about 305 yards off the tee will put even more of a premium on an accurate tee shot on this home hole.
The 14th green at TPC Scottsdale is a completely new look. Previously, the green on this par-4 was situated to the right. But at the suggestion of Plotts, the green was moved way right and elevated. Now you'll find some memorable views of the Superstition Mountains in the distance on this elevated green.
There are actually completely new greens at Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 14. And all the greens were resurfaced, a change that Plotts said was definitely necessary. Here's the view of the new second hole green.
And we couldn't not provide an inside look at No. 16. It was awesome to stand on the tee and watch the stands being built months before the tournament. With the Super Bowl the same week, the Thunderbirds aren't going to have any problem selling seats this year. Should be another raucous scene at the party-hard 16th!
Photos: (top) Getty images; Previous look at the 18th hole: Jensen Larsen; others: Jeff Plotts