WM Phoenix Open 16th hole rain delays lead to minor safety tweaks

Feb 25, 2022, 12:23 PM
Nick Watney of the United States hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the ...
Nick Watney of the United States hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 11, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The party returned to WM Phoenix Open in a big way in 2022.

Getting back to somewhat normalcy following the limited amount of fans last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, droves of spectators graced TPC Scottsdale and were greeted by not one but two hole-in-ones on the infamous No. 16 over the final two rounds of play earlier this month.

The term “madness ensued” might not be enough to describe the moments after Sam Ryder and Carlos Ortiz dropped in their aces, as a shower of beer cans caused a “rain delay” on two sunny days of golf.

But while those in the stands were taking in the moment, what about the optics and potential hazards that come with launching beer cans onto the par 3?

“This happens once a year on tour,” WM Phoenix Open chairman Michael Golding told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta Wednesday. “I think the players appreciate that, I think the fans appreciate that and I think golf in general … appreciates the fact that we’re different. … Certainly it’s something that we’re going to look at this year. There’s going to be some necessary adjustments.

“We’re here to make sure that players are safe, make sure our fans are safe, make sure the game is safe and we are going to look at that and we’ll make some adjustments. But we’re not looking at the past two hole-in-ones as any big mistake or tragedy. I think it was a great example of how exciting golf can be. It was a great example of how exciting it is to get back to large-scale events.”

As far as what those changes might look like, Golding doesn’t expect there to be a massive overhaul to the overall experience of the 16th hole.

“And we’re gonna make some adjustments on the 16th hole to make things a little safer,” Golding said. “That’s the way we do it every year. But nothing out of the ordinary, so to speak.”

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