This week's PGA Tour stop is the Waste Management Phoenix Open. We look back at 10 of the event's most memorable moments.
1 / 10
Consider the context of Tiger Woods’ hole-in-one at the 16th. Woods had already won twice after turning pro midway through 1996, then taken the 1997 season-opening Mercedes Championships for his third win. The hype surrounding him was off the charts, and he was living up to it. He was the hottest golfer on the planet, playing in front of the most crazed fans in golf, at the tournament’s – no, the Tour’s – most infamous hole, on a Saturday, traditionally the day of the event’s best-lubricated crowd. And he jarred his tee shot. It’s a wonder the universe didn’t explode.
2 / 10
Tiger’s boulder. That’s all you have to say and golf fans know exactly what you’re talking about. And most have a strong opinion about it. Woods hit a tee shot that missed the fairway and wound up behind a boulder in the desert. Taking advantage of the rules (Decision 23-1/3), Woods had members of his gallery assist in moving the “loose impediment,” giving him a clear path to the green.
3 / 10
How good was Johnny Miller at desert golf? Of his 25 PGA Tour wins, eight came at desert venues (four at Tuscon, two at Phoenix and two Bob Hopes). In the 1975 season opener at Phoenix, Miller won by 14. He followed that with an “off” week at Tucson, where he won by "only" nine. This was the height of his career. After he won the 1973 U.S. Open with a closing 63, Miller won 15 times in 1974-76.
4 / 10
Phoenix wasn’t the first place we had seen Tiger Woods struggle with chipping. He had a devil of a time with the short shots the previous December in his Hero World Challenge. But in his first event of 2015 he hit a new low, shooting a (then) career-worst 82 in the second round. Woods said he was “caught between patterns” of former swing coach Sean Foley and his new “swing consultant,” Chris Como, and even joked that, like Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch at Super Bowl media day, “I’m just doing this [interview] so I don’t get fined.”
5 / 10
TPC Scottsdale was the site of the most unusual hole-in-one in PGA Tour history. First, it was made on a par-4 hole, the only time that has happened in an official Tour event. Second, the ball deflected off another player’s club before finding the cup. Andrew Magee didn’t think he could reach the green on the 332-yard 17th hole, so he teed off while the group ahead was still on the green. Magee’s ball rolled up onto the green, between the legs of Tom Byrum, who was squatting to study his putt, and struck Byrum’s putter. It then ricocheted into the hole for a 1 – the hard way.
6 / 10
One man’s anguish is another man’s elation. In January 2012, Kyle Stanley experienced the former emotion, blowing a three-shot lead on the final hole and losing the Farmers Insurance Open in a playoff. The following week he was on the other side of the fence, coming from eight shots behind third-round leader Spencer Levin in Scottsdale to score his first PGA Tour win.
7 / 10
Going into the 1996 season, Phil Mickelson’s fifth on the PGA Tour, the former Arizona State star had five wins, including one as an amateur in 1991. He quickly made it six wins by taking the Nortel Open in Tucson, and set his sights on Phoenix, where he was an adopted hometown favorite. Playing the final round with Texan Justin Leonard, Mickelson enjoyed a huge advantage in fan support. They tied after 72 holes, and Mickelson prevailed in the playoff with a birdie on the third extra hole. The crowd went wild.
8 / 10
The first time Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were paired in a PGA Tour event was in the final round of the 1962 Phoenix Open. Palmer was on his way to a 12-shot win while Nicklaus was battling for second place (he would finish T-2). Walking off the 71st hole, Palmer gave Nicklaus some encouragement. Nicklaus appreciated the gesture. “It was a nice little olive branch to throw out to somebody,” Nicklaus recalled years later. A few months later in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, their places would be reversed and there would be no olive branches.
9 / 10
Having blown a four-stroke lead in three holes, Chris DiMarco wasn’t in the best of moods when he went to the 16th tee on Sunday. His outlook brightened considerably when he stiffed his 8-iron tee shot, but as he was standing over his tap-in, a Caddyshack-quoting fan yelled out “Noonan.” DiMarco tapped in to tie for the lead, then took the lead for good on the next hole. But not before he had security eject the fan.
10 / 10
Rickie Fowler had a two-shot lead playing the par-4 17th at TPC Scottsdale, but hit his tee shot into the water and finished regulation in a tie with Hideki Matsuyama. Fowler then hit his tee shot into the water again on No. 17, on the fourth hole of sudden death to hand Matsuyama the win. Fowler then broke into tears in the media center discussing how much the loss hurt as he wasn't able to win in front of friends and family.
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