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Brooks Koepka believes TPC Scottsdale, host venue of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, has all the hallmarks of a great Ryder Cup course.
The Phoenix Open is always one of the most well-attended PGA Tour events thanks, in part, to the atmosphere created on the famous par-3 16th. Nicknamed ‘The Coliseum’, some 20,000 rowdy fans form a noisy amphitheatre that would seemingly be a perfect fit for the biennial contest.
And Koepka, a two-time winner in Phoenix, has given his full support to that idea after firing back-to-back 66s to head into the weekend with a great chance of defending his title.
He said: “It would be a hell of a golf course to have a Ryder Cup at. I think it would be very interesting. The problem is with the Ryder Cup though you don't always finish on 16, 17, 18. You can finish before that.
“So you might not make it to 16, but I think that would be fun to come down to the final match on 16.”
Indeed it would. And not only that, should matches extend beyond the par-3, the penultimate hole would also be guaranteed to create some drama. Measuring 332 yards from the back tees, it’s a classic risk-reward par-4 that can yield eagles just as quickly as it does double-bogeys.
“It's the best drivable par-4 on Tour,” Koepka stated, before taking his praise a step further. “I think maybe even the best that we play. You'll see guys make double, no problem. If you don't put it in the correct spot you're going to be in a lot of trouble. It can be very difficult.
“I didn't hit a good tee shot -- and that chip is still tough short of the green to any of those back pins, anything on the left side is difficult enough, ball seems to always run away. Even if you bail out off the tee it's not the easiest pitch going down hill running towards the water. I'm a big fan of that hole. I love it.”
It all sounds tailor-made for golf’s famous team event that is one of few on the schedule that transcends the sport. And asked what the Arizona atmosphere compares to, the former World No. 1 likened it to a major in New York, where the boo-boys can turn on players quickly.
“A major in New York. Yeah, I think that's pretty specific. I think you get the New York fans, they're loud, they're on your side when you're doing well and then when you screw up, man, they're going to let you know what's up. I've been on both sides of that.
“I go back to Bethpage, the back nine, the first six holes I was choking it up pretty good and they got on me pretty good. I think they were shouting DJ's name for about three, four minutes, from one of the greens all the way to the next tee box.
“But it's so -- it is like my mental space I'm in, it resets me. It makes me focus in a little bit harder, I think, because I don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear the boos. I don't think anybody out here does. I don't know how many guys are playing this week - 144 maybe or something like that - but I'm pretty sure every guy doesn't want to hear the boos.”
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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