The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the most electrifying tournament on the PGA Tour schedule.
And it could be argued that the tournament — contested at TPC Scottsdale each year — features the most electric hole in golf with its Colosseum, 163-yard (though it often plays shorter), par-3 16th with a capacity of 20,000 fans.
I mean, look at this thing…
All anyone wants to see when taking in this spectacle is the best shot in golf — a hole-in-one. Is that too much to ask?!
Since TPC Scottsdale began hosting this tournament in 1987, there have been 11 aces on the par-3 16th. Here they are:
2022: Carlos Ortiz, 16th hole, 9-iron, 178 yards.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 13, 2022
2022: Sam Ryder, 16th hole, sand wedge, 124 yards.
🗣 ACE ON 16 🗣
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 12, 2022
2015: Francisco Molinari, 16th hole, pitching wedge, 144 yards.
2011: Jarrod Lyle, 16th hole, 8 iron, 150 yards.
2002: Mike Sposa, 16th hole, 7-iron.
1997: Steve Stricker, 16th hole, 6-iron.
1997: Tiger Woods, 16th hole, 9-iron.
1991: Jay Delsing, 16th hole, 9-iron.
1990: Brad Bryant, 16th hole.
1990: David Edwards, 16th hole.
1988: Hal Sutton, 16th hole.
Just a quick glance at that list and it should be obvious which ace was the most memorable… the one by Tiger in 1997, of course.
Check it out:
In a TCN exclusive on caddie Rusty “Hoss” Uresti written by Craig Dolch, Rusty recalled what it was like caddying for his brother, Omar, in that group with Tiger at TPC Scottsdale in 1997:
“The loudest roar I’ve ever heard in my life,” Rusty said. “Lee Rinker was in the clubhouse a pair of par 4s away, and he said the windows were rattling. It was the loudest roar in golf.”
Caddie Steve Hulka was looping for England’s Brian Davis in the same group as Francesco Molinari back in 2015 when Molinari recorded what still is the most recent of aces on TPC Scottsdale’s 16th. You can see it here:
We asked Hulka to set that scene for us and this is what he had to say:
Saturday at a Phoenix Open, it’s nothing like you can possibly imagine if you’ve only been to a “regular” PGA Tour event (including majors). But this is the PEOPLE’S Major as it is referred to now, and boy, can these Phoenicians party like there’s no tomorrow.
It was five years ago this Saturday I happened to be in a group with Harris English and Francesco Molinari; I was shouldering the bag of my player Brian Davis, and as we came through the tunnel from 15 green into The Stadium, the famous 16th at TPC Scottsdale, the entire arena was packed to the max, and everyone was already well-oiled and throaty to witness the shots these players could produce.
Harris had the honor, and as I recall the hole was set up for fireworks, the yardage in the mid-140s and a very accessible hole location in the front left portion of the green. English hit a wedge or 9-iron to pin high maybe 20 feet right of the hole, which elicited polite murmurs and a smattering of boos.
Up stepped the Italian, and when he swung there was a slight crescendo of volume in his favor as the shot was right at the flag. His ball landed no more than two yards pin-high right and once it hopped and spun left it was headed right for the hole. When it went in for an ace all pandemonium erupted, and here came the beer cans. Hundreds, maybe a thousand, rained down from the stands surrounding the green. On the green, the bunkers, the collection areas – everywhere they could be thrown.
Now Brian still had to hit, but once we were all done high-fiving Fran and his caddie Mick Doran, the marshals had just begun to gather up the mess. Five minutes passed, maybe 10: raking the bunkers out, two-man teams picking them up while the one dragged a trash bag — that was some serious recycling going on, Waste(d) Management! Things finally settled down and BD was allowed to hit, and his 9-iron was a pretty darn good shot about 14 feet under the hole… but you should have heard the BOOS!! Worse than when I’d attend a Bears-Packers game as a kid at Soldier Field and the Enemy From The North came out of their tunnel!
I mean, how are you supposed to follow a hole-in-one?
Enjoy the YouTube replay; I do every year about this time. It gets me pumped up for the People’s Open.
The only other ace on No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale caught on video during the Waste Management Phoenix Open, came courtesy of another very popular player: Jarrod Lyle in 2011 (unfortunately, he passed in 2018). Here’s a look at that ace, too: