Changes to No. 16 among continued evolution of 2023 WM Phoenix Open

Jan 25, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2023, 4:23 pm
Sam Ryder of the United States reacts to his hole-in-one with Brian Harman of the United States on ...
Sam Ryder of the United States reacts to his hole-in-one with Brian Harman of the United States on the 16th hole during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 12, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

The WM Phoenix Open is no stranger to sharing the weekend with the Super Bowl.

This year’s iteration of the tournament, however, not only has the big game taking place at the same time, it’s about 30 miles down the road from it.

Translation: TPC Scottsdale is going to be bustling with spectators when the tournament rolls around in a couple short weeks.

And when they arrive to the golf course, they’ll be greeted with a number of new things, from the entry way that features a massive clock tower to some revamping of the infamous 16th hole.

“We’ve got two new video boards on No. 16 that are going to be behind the stadium seating,” tournament chairman Pat Williams told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday. “They’re going to be fantastic. It’s going to allow fans to see players walking through the tunnel on No. 16 before they approach the tee box. It’s going to allow us to show some cool clips.”

“The genesis of the clock tower is with the new entry we want to make sure the people who are coming to the event that The entry is very clear. It’s easy to see. The clock tower will go right on Bell Road. It’s enormous, it’s really cool, it’s going to have the ability to have music, we’ll have clips of some famous shots. Hopefully people are there and say, ‘I’ll meet you at the clock tower and we’ll go into the tournament.’ It will be new and you won’t want to miss it.”

On top of the evolution around the golf course, the tournament has also seen a bump in competition.

In an effort to increase winnings, the PGA Tour deemed the WM Phoenix Open as one of 11 elevated tournaments on the schedule. In addition to receiving the commitment from the tour’s top-20 golfers from its 2022 Player Impact Program, the tournament’s prize purse increases to $20 million, up from last year’s mark of $8.2 million.

“The elevated status is something that obviously we’re really excited about and our winner this year will get a $3.6 million check,” Williams said. “Our purse is bigger than any major.

“You think about the winning check of $3.6 million, that’s incredible. But if you finish 15th or 20th, it’s also going to be life-changing money for somebody, so we couldn’t be more excited. It’s been a lot of preparation and work but we’re just a couple weeks away and we’ll be ready to go.”

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