The best moments at TPC Scottsdale's par-3 16th through the years
The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale is not one that would rank among the best par 3s in tournament golf, and it probably wouldn't garner mention on any other best lists either. In reality, for many of today's tour pros, it's smooth 8- or 9-iron (for the big hitters, a pitching wedge) to a huge green with little trouble surrounding it. "Forgettable" might be a fair term to describe it.
But on Waste Management Phoenix Open week, the 16th provides one of the most unforgettable scenes in sports. What would be a carefree short iron with no one around becomes one of the most tense one-shotters players face all year, as thousands of screaming fans prepare to boo even the slightest mistake, or cheer on a stuffed tee shot. It's the closest thing golf has to an SEC football game.
The electric, stadium-style setting has provided endless memories over the years, from aces to near aces to funny moments to heartwarming memories, and much more. And while the limited fans in attendance this week due to COVID-19 restrictions will turn down the volume a bit for the 2021 final round, it still has the potential for plenty of excitment this Sunday. Here are some of the best sights and sounds from the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale through the years, in no particular order.
Harold Varner III dons Cam Newton jersey, dabs on everyone in 2016
First, HV3 made a BOMB of a birdie putt in the first round, then busted out the dab:
The following day, after sailing the green, Varner responded to the boos by donning a Cam Newton Carolina Panthers jersey. Varner is a massive Panthers fan, and his team was playing in Super Bowl 50 two days later against the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, he didn't keep the jersey on for the impressive par save:
Varner was not the first to wear a jersey while playing the hole, and he won't be the last (reports hint that Justin Thomas will be wearing some of Kobe Bryant's jerseys this week), but nobody had more fun doing it. Varner actually went on to miss the cut, and his Panthers went on to lose the Super Bowl.
Phil Mickelson throws football to fans in 2014
Sadly, there is no video of Mickelson slinging the pill into the stands back in 2014, just these hilarious photos. It's always so strange to see such a legendary lefty like Phil do something else righty:
You thinking what we're thinking? Yep … #athlete
Padraig Harrington kicks footballs to fans in 2013
Never kicked an American football in his life before? After watching that end-over-end boot, followed by a coffin corner punt, I find that hard to believe.
Anthony Kim stiffing one to tap-in range in 2010
Honestly, this happens at the 16th countless times throughout each Waste Management Phoenix Open. This was just an excuse to post an AK highlight (eyes well up with tears).
The Caddie races
One of the many unique aspects of the par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale were the caddie races, none as incredible as this one from 2013:
Incredible scenes. And then there was this one, also from 2013, between the brothers Henley:
And two more from 2013:
You're not going to believe this, but the caddie races were banned after the 2013 WMPO, for fear of injury. Too much fun was being had. #BringBackTheCaddieRaces.
James Hahn does the "Gangnam Style" dance after a birdie in 2013
Evidently 2013 was a wild year at the WMPO. Speaking of …
Phil Mickelson's near ace on Saturday in 2013 en route to victory
Unless you're Anthony Kim, it's hard to make this list of moments just by hitting it close. Everybody hits it close at 16. Phil Mickelson is the other exception, because Mickelson hitting it close, on Saturday with the lead "just hits different" as the kids say. Just listen to that roar. Only one person other than Tiger can produce that sound on that hole. Of course, this shot and subsequent birdie conversion were made more special by the fact he went on to win the event for a third time, which seemed like it was inevitable after he shot a first-round 60.
Ldric the robot makes hole-in-one in 2016
I love that no one high fives or celebrates with the robot. Yes, I understand it's an emotionless robot, but I don't know, give it a pat on the head or something.
Francesco Molinari makes hole-in-one in 2015
This was the ninth and most recent ace at the 16th at TPC Scottsdale, which has hosted the event since 1987. Just for some perspective, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, widely regarded as one of the most terrifying holes in tournament golf, has yielded nine since 1986. Francesco Molinari, who was playing in his first WMPO that year, shot a 64 on Saturday and went on to finish in a tie for 22nd
Jarrod Lyle makes hole-in-one in 2011
Lyle's ace was the first in nearly a decade at the 16th, and it was also the first of his professional career. The incredibly memorable moment was commemorated at last year's Waste Management Phoenix Open, just six months after Lyle had passed away at age 36 after a long battle with leukemia.
Tiger Woods makes hole-in-one in 1997
Because of how corporate the scene has gotten at the 16th, the crowd noise can often feel dull at times. It'll never be as rowdy as it first was in its infant stage, which just so happened to coincide with an ace from a young Tiger Woods. Beers flying everywhere, Tiger raising the roof, Omar Uresti on hand. This moment had literally everything you could possibly ask for.
Amy Bockerstette and Gary Woodland in 2019
Perhaps the best single piece of content the PGA Tour has ever produced, and one that became much more than just a viral moment.