Denny McCarthy has a brief-yet-odd history at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. A year ago, the 26-year-old former U.S. Amateur runner-up played in the tournament for the first time, and made waves during the second round when he was the recipient of a two-stroke penalty. Officials deemed McCarthy’s caddie had been standing behind the golfer before playing his fourth shot on the 15th hole, violating one of the new Rules of Golf that had gone into effect earlier in the month.
Recall this was in the early days of the new rules coming online, and the application of the new code was still something players and officials were getting used to. When replays showed McCarthy’s caddie moved away before McCarthy came close to actually playing the shot, many tour pros took to Twitter in McCarthy’s defense. A day later, the PGA Tour announced it was rescinding the two-stroke penalty after consulting with the USGA and R&A about the intent of the new rule and how it should be applied during the course of play.
McCarthy went on to make the cut at TPC Scottsdale and finished T-33.
Fast forward a year, and McCarthy wound up becoming another unusual piece of WMPO trivia on Sunday at TPC Scottsdale’s infamous 16th hole. After hitting his tee shot 37 feet, 11 inches from the hole, McCarthy ran in the putt to accomplish something that hadn’t been done on the 163-yard par 3 in 17 years. It was the fourth straight day he made a birdie on the hole.
The last person to birdie the hole all four days of the tournament was Luke Donald in 2003.
For the week, McCarthy made 73 feet, 11 inches of putts on the hole, with only Saturday’s third-round birdie coming from inside 10 feet. A year ago, McCarthy made three pars and a bogey on the hole.
Interestingly, after making his fourth straight birdie on 16 on Sunday, McCarthy was only two under par for the tournament with 11 holes still to play (he teed off the back nine on Sunday). He then proceeded to make a double bogey/bogey on the first and second holes and one more birdie, the 15th of the week on the seventh hole. At day's end, he shot an even-par 71 on Sunday and an even-par 284 for the week.
But they can never take away from him the fact he was four under on the loudest, craziest hole on the course.