By Tom Edrington

Scottsdale, AZ

All you need to mention is the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open.

Immediately, you'll be told that it is party central, starting Thursday at this week's stop on the PGA Tour.

The par-three at the TPC Scottsdale is only 162 yards, one of the shorter shots on the PGA Tour, but it is circled by stands that hold more than 15,000 screaming, boisterous fans who engage in antics with the players and the players often reciprocate.

Players coming out of the tunnel are often greeted by chants, the crowd knows their names and where they went to school. Hit a good shot and the ovation is resounding. Miss the green and you're most likely hit with a chorus of boo-birds.

It's just par for the course at the 16th.

The defending champion this week is Mark Wilson, who made this his second early-season win last year. Wilson has already won again this season, capturing the title at the Humana Challenge two weeks ago.

Last week's stunning winner, Brandt Snedeker is in the field as is Kyle Stanley, who suffered a triple-bogey eight at the 72nd hole last week at Torrey Pines then lost on the second hole of a playoff with Snedeker.

Stanley led by six shots with nine holes to play and was despondent following the loss. There has been an outpouring of positive messages for Stanley and after getting over the initial shock of his loss, he was upbeat.

"I know I'll be back," he said. "I'm not worried about that."

Other favorites this week include Rickie Fowler, who is still searching for his first PGA Tour win. Bill Haas played well last week and his game is suited to the TPC Scottsdale.


PGA Tour Party: Phoenix Open is Place to Be