SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rickie Fowler is no stranger to the gauntlet that is the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, but even he took exception to some of what he heard from the stands Thursday morning.
Fowler played the 16th hole early Thursday morning, before the thousands of well-hydrated fans gathered in the stands had reached their full-throated peak. But there were still a few comments from the gallery that caught the ear of Fowler, who shares the early lead after a 5-under 66. He was “disappointed” with some of what he heard from the tee box.
“I may be somewhat of a fan favorite, but they weren’t holding back,” Fowler said. “I was a little disappointed with some of the stuff that was said, and I don’t want much negativity. The normal boos for missing a green, that’s fine, but leave the heckling to a minimum and make it fun, support the guys out playing.”
Fowler received plenty of feedback after his tee shot found a greenside bunker, leading to his only bogey of the day. Jon Rahm made a birdie playing in the group behind Fowler, much to the delight of the crowds, but even he admitted the environment can be a mixed bag.
“I heard my fair share of comments on that hole; we’re all going to, even when I was on top of the ball and about to take the club back,” Rahm said. “But then it’s as good as it can be bad. If you hit a good shot and a good putt, you get the best reaction you’re going to get in your life. So it’s both. You hit a bad shot and you’re going to get the worst reaction you’re going to get in your life.”
Fowler said he “loves” the closing stretch on the Stadium Course, and he expects even more noise when he heads to the tee late Friday afternoon. At that point, though, he knows there will be a simple remedy.
“Tomorrow’s definitely going to be louder, and Saturday afternoon’s a beauty,” Fowler said. “Just hit better shots there, you’ll have more fun.”