This weekend, the PGA stops in Scottsdale, Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Although the tournament is hardly in the prime stretch of the season, it’s still one of the PGA’s most entertaining watches, largely due to the craziness of the 16th hole. Nicknamed the “stadium hole”, it is the only hole in golf where fans are allowed and even encouraged to be loud and boisterous during their shots. As you probably know, golf is often seen as a very serious and respectful sport, but the craziness of the 16th at TPC Scottsdale reflects something different about golf fans, and it’s a great representation for the game. There’s really nothing quite like it.
As seen in this video with last year’s winner Rickie Fowler, the players being able to interact more with the fans ends up in a much more exciting product for everyone involved. Besides after winning tournaments, there aren’t a lot of other opportunities for crowds to get this into the game. This year we also saw Tony Finau wear a Lakers jersey to honour the late Kobe Bryant, which is a great gesture by him and also lets a player show a bit more of his personality. Too often in golf we don’t see enough of this kind of thing because of all the etiquette that comes with the game. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, but it is nice to see another side of these players during tournament play.
Another cool thing that only happens at the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale is that players are boo’d by fans for missing the green. If this were to happen at any other tournament in the year, it would be looked at as very disrespectful, but because of the nature of this tournament, players take it in stride like any other athlete would have to do after receiving boos. The overall party atmosphere of the stadium hole is the reason why people line up at the gates for this event at 4am, have a great time all day, and usually end up with a strained voice at the end of the event. It’s a great way for fans to have fun at a tournament and it’s also great for the PGA because of how fun it looks. You wouldn’t have to be a golf fan to enjoy a day at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and I think other tournaments should strive to be able to say the same. Without a doubt, the stadium hole is the funnest hole in golf.