Has TPC Scottsdale's 16th crossed the line?

By Jason SobelJanuary 29, 2014, 5:37 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The confluence of events at golf’s biggest party nearly reached an all-time high last year. This was Saturday afternoon at TPC Scottsdale’s infamous 16th hole, the bewitching hour for boisterousness as the most well attended tournament in the world was getting ready to wind down for the day. Or more to the point, the partygoers were preparing for the afterparty.

Favorite son Phil Mickelson, playing in the final group, had already been leading for three days, in itself enough to cause an even more frenzied atmosphere than usual. Then he stepped up to the tee box and hit a shot to within inches of the hole. It paled in comparison to Tiger Woods’ iconic hole-in-one and awkward raise-the-roof celebration from 1997, but only slightly. Pandemonium ensued, the 15,000 spectators surrounding the hole unable to contain their enthusiasm.

“They were excited, let’s put it that way,” said Keegan Bradley, who was playing in that final group. “Which they should have been – he’s their guy, he’s playing well, he’s going to win the tournament, he almost hit a hole-in-one. It was loud and crazy. I was playing with Bill Haas. We had a few things thrown at us.”

Photo gallery: Fans go crazy at TPC Scottsdale's 16th

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Articles, videos and photos

Haas doesn’t recall any specifics of that moment – which speaks volumes about the 16th hole, that having things thrown at a competitor doesn’t even register on the annoyance scale – but he does remember an incident from the same hole earlier in the week.

“A grown man punched a marshal in the face and took him to the ground, right by the tee,” he recalled. “It wasn’t like a 20-year-old college kid who was too drunk. It was somebody’s dad. And it was all because the marshal told him to be quiet, so he punched him.”

All of which should lead to one potentially incendiary question: Have the Waste Management Phoenix Open crowds – more specifically, those rowdy, alcohol-induced galleries at the 16th hole – gotten out of hand?

Call it the clichéd example of a few bad apples spoiling the entire bunch. After all, there aren’t a few thousand grown men punching marshals in the face, but really, it only takes one to shine the spotlight on the drawbacks of throwing a party within the confines of a golf tournament.

According to PGA Tour officials, the event will sustain increased security measures this week, but only because every event on this year’s schedule is undergoing these enhancements.

“Coming out of the terrible tragedy in Boston at the marathon last April, we stepped up our annual review of security programs to make sure they’re sufficient to provide a reasonable level of safety to our players, fans and volunteers,” said Andy Pazder, EVP and Chief of Operations for the PGA Tour.

This included beefing up a wanding policy for every person entering tournament grounds that was previously only strongly encouraged toward individual events, but has now been instituted as mandatory protocol.

That goes for PGA Tour players, too. One competitor in this week’s event was stopped by a security guard who demanded he leave behind the divot-repair tool in his pocket. “Fine,” the player shot back, “but you’re going to have to come fix my ball marks.”

Gone, too, are the caddie races, which had become a staple on the 16th hole. For years, fans had placed wagers in the bleachers as to which looper would reach the green first, unbeknownst to them. Those unassuming walks turned into mild jogs, then all-out sprints, eventually peaking – or bottoming out, according to Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters – with brothers Kip and Brent Henley hilariously racing each other to the delight of the crowd. Their rivalry-driven chase garnered so much attention that it topped Mickelson’s near-ace in one national sportscast’s top plays of the day.

Those races have now been banned, but according to officials it’s not for stealing the spotlight from actual play.

“We’re not doing the caddie races out of an abundance of concern for the caddies’ health,” Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour’s EVP of communications, explained in a comment that left more than a few caddies on the TPC Scottsdale range unable to contain their giggling.

Other than that, though, the 16th-hole hysteria will continue as always this week – marshal-punching notwithstanding.

It will still be golf’s biggest party, still the loudest, most raucous atmosphere in the game. Some tournaments might not get 15,000 spectators for an entire day; the 16th alone garners that many for all four tournament rounds, no problem.

Sometimes that means a line will be crossed, but it’s striking that balance which leaves officials keeping a close eye on the festivities each year.

“We carefully monitor what goes on at the Waste Management Phoenix Open from a fan standpoint,” Pazder said. “We want our fans to have fun, but we want them to also be respectful of our players and caddies. We want those out there to watch golf and do that in an environment that’s family friendly, not excessively profane. We don’t want the rowdiness to detract from it being a terrific community event.”

In this respect, the players agree – even those who have endured things thrown at them during the course of play.

“Once a year, on that hole, you’re ready for it; you’re ready to accept it,” Bradley concluded. “It’s tough to control the 16th, but they do the best they can.”

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.