SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A marriage of madness is taking place in the Arizona desert this week.
Thirty-four miles separate the largest social spectacle on the PGA Tour schedule from the largest one-day sporting spectacle on the planet with the Waste Management Open beginning with its opening round Thursday at TPC Scottsdale and Super Bowl 2023 on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.
The Waste Management is already known as one of the biggest cocktail parties in sports. Add to that the Super Bowl crowds and the bash at TPC Scottsdale will be off the rails.
The Post spoke to more than a dozen PGA Tour players competing at the Waste Management this week about both events being in town in the same week for the fourth time — with both bigger than ever.
“It’s going to be an absolute s–t show … but a fun s–t show,’’ Luke List said.
“It’s going to be absolute madness,’’ Keegan Bradley said. “You put 100,000 Eagles fans in the mix out here? What a sports weekend it’s going to be. It doesn’t get much better.’’
Brendan Steele called it “the confluence of crazy events,’’ adding, “This tournament’s always insane anyway. Now you add the Super Bowl and you add the fanatical fans from Philly and you add perfect weather and then you make this tournament an elevated event [higher purse] with every [top] player coming here. Now you’ve got this thing that is like completely crazy and we don’t really know what it’s going to look like.’’
Many of the Tour players are torn about whether to root for the Chiefs or Eagles when the game kicks off less than an hour after the last putt drops at TPC Scottsdale.
Justin Thomas, an Alabama graduate, attended Monday’s Super Bowl media night and interviewed Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who played the first part of his college career at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma.
“As a football fan, it was a cool experience,’’ said Thomas, who’s a Bengals fan and is split on whom to root for.
“I’d be happy for both sides to win,’’ Thomas said. “I’ve gotten to know [Chiefs quarterback Patrick] Mahomes a little bit, so I’m pulling for him, and same with [Travis] Kelce. I’ve met him in Florida a few times. But I’d love to see it for Jalen and DeVonta [Smith, the Eagles’ receiver who’s an Alabama alum], too.’’
One player who’s not conflicted in the least about the game is Gary Woodland, who’s a Kansas native and very close with Mahomes, with whom he plays golf regularly.
Woodland isn’t going to the game, instead opting to hang with about 50 friends from Kansas at a friend’s home in Scottsdale at a watch party.
“Mahomes changes everything,’’ Woodland said. “I’ve played a lot of golf with him and the guy is unbelievable.’’
Woodland marveled at what Mahomes did on essentially one leg with a high right ankle sprain in the Chiefs AFC Championship win over the Bengals two weeks ago.
“I played basketball all my life and we’ve all had high ankle sprains,’’ Woodland said. “That’s a four-week injury, and for him to come back and play in one week, that was a joke. For him to come out and do that shows the kind of person he is and how much it means to him. The team and city, everyone has rallied around him.
Woodland described Mahomes the person as someone “who just gets it.’’
“He says the right things, does the right things, he gives back in the community back home,’’ Woodland said. “I was a big George Brett fan growing up my whole life. He’s the king back home, and Mahomes has taken that title from him. There’s no doubt Mahomes in the man now in Kansas City. He just does everything right.’’
Jordan Spieth is among some players who said he’s planning to go to the game. So, too, is Stewart Cink for the first time.
“I’ve played in all four of these when the Super Bowl has been here,’’ Cink said. “This is bigger, the Super Bowl is bigger, everything is bigger. This place is incredibly chaotic when there’s no Super Bowl, but you throw in all the celebrities that are going to be at the tournament and the frenzy the crowd’s going to be in … ’’
Cink’s voice trailed off as he daydreamed about the potential madness.
“It may never get any bigger than this as far as all the perfect stuff coming together,’’ Steele said. “I think it’s going to be pretty wild.’’