News & ToursJanuary 8, 2015

Tiger, Phoenix, the 16th hole: 'It could be sporting event of the year'

Imagine the reaction at the most boisterous hole in golf were Tiger Woods to emerge from the tunnel and into the stadium at the TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open later this month.

"I think it could be the sporting event of the year," tournament chairman Danny Calihan said, "to watch Tiger come back to the place where there were just people standing around the tee when he made a hole-in-one there [in 1997] and now it's a full stadium."

It's quite a statement considering that the Super Bowl will be held in the area on Feb. 1.

Woods making a hole-in-one at Phoenix Open in 1997

Seventeen additional skyboxes have been added to the stadium at the 16th hole, bringing the number to 200. The number of spectators the hole can now accommodate is upwards of 16,000, Calihan said.

Reaction to the rumor that Woods will make his 2015 PGA Tour debut at the Phoenix Open, where he has not played since 2001, was what one might expect for a tournament that annually draws the largest crowds on the PGA Tour.

"It's been super exciting," Calihan said. "I've been getting phone calls, texts and emails from people I'd forgotten who knew me. Excitement is everywhere. Everyone is asking if he's coming.

"It would just be a wonderful shot of energy to our already great event. Hopefully it turns out to be true."

In the past, Woods has made his PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open. But given that he has played only a single tournament — his own Hero World Challenge — since the PGA Championship, speculation is that he needs more tournament starts in the run-up to the Masters.

Time-lapse video of the stadium at the 16th hole being constructed

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