SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- At first glance the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course looks pretty much the same. After all, there are still the iconic 15th, 16th and 17th holes. They look virtually unchanged.
But following a $15 million renovation project by Tom Weiskopf last summer, there's more to it than meets the eye -- much more. Every green was resurfaced and holes 2,3,4 and 14 have brand new greens, some in different locations. Every bunker was renovated and many were moved into the landing areas to make it more difficult for the tour pros in the PGA Tour's Waste Management Open to fly them.
As an added benefit, some of the bunker movement has made the course play easier for recreational players, many of whom can't reach the new bunkers off the tee.
The idea was to make the course a little more challenging for the tour pros, who often torched the original 1986 design, done by Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. Oddly enough, the 2015 winner, Brooks Koepka (-15), was just one stroke higher than the 2014 winner, Kevin Stadler, but 13 strokes higher than 2013 winner Phil Mickelson.
The 7,261-yard, par-71 course also got a little added length, particularly on the 14th, which gained almost 100 yards and can play as long as 495 yards now to an heavily bunkered elevated green. At the 2014 tournament, the 14th was the 13th hardest hole with a scoring average just under 4. In 2015, it was the hardest hole, playing to an average of almost 4.2 strokes.
Two other big changes came of the par-5 13th and the par-4 18th.
The 13th, where spectators moved a boulder to clear the way for Tiger Woods in 1999, no longer has a split fairway, requiring more precision off the tee.
The 18th, where long hitters used to blow it over a lake on the left, now has a series of "church pew" bunkers to deal with if they take that route, ala Oakmont.