The Biggest Party In Golf - The 16th Hole


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, February 27, 2010

This weekend is like none other in golf. This is the week when golf is bombarded by over 500,000 of the most raucous fans to attend any sporting event. The TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course hosts the Waste Management Pheonix Open(formerly the FBR Open) which began on Thursday and runs through the final round tomorrow.

I went last year for the third round and had the best time. I got hooked up with some sweet greens keepers tickets which got us into all the hospitality tents. This gave us access to free food and drinks which is always a good thing.

This is truly a unique tournament which is highlighted by the 16th hole. This is the one hole where golf etiquette goes out the door. The completely enclosed hole gives it a true sports arena feeling and the jeering and the trash talking usually reserved for sports like basketball and football finds its way onto the course.

The hole is surrounded by 30,000 screaming and somewhat tipsy(to put it mildly)fans. It's all about pleasing the fans at the 16th. If they love you, they will cheer you. If you went to school at the University Of Arizona like Rory Sabbatini, then you get booed as the 16th is dominated by Arizona State University students.

All the players talk about the 16th hole. Some start thinking about the tee shot as soon as they wake up. Some claim that they don't think about until they walk up to the tee box. It is one of the most intimidating yet fun holes in golf. If you hit the green in one then they cheer for you. If you miss the green, you are going to get booed. Harshly. If you get a hole in one, there's going to be a party.

The best thing that happened that day was when Ted Purdy, a native of Arizona stepped up to the tee at 16. If you remember the Cardinals were in the Superbowl the next day and the crowd was in even more of a frenzy than usual.

The crowd went silent and Purdy unleashed his iron towards the green. The crowd erupted as if they knew something great was about to happen. Purdy’s ball landed within a foot of the cup and the crowd exploded. I could feel the stands shaking beneath me from all the raucous. I was going nuts too.

What happened next was the highlight of all highlights. Purdy reaches into his bag and pulls out an Arizona Cardinals flag and starts waving it back and forth. The crowd lost it. I have never heard such a roar in my life. Purdy then starts to run all the way to the green still waving the flag.

When he got to the green he stopped. Looked at the ball. Then looked at the crowd and then started waving the flag again. Once again the crowd went crazy. He tapped in for birdie and left to a standing ovation.

I still get goosebumps thinking about it now. The energy was unbelievable. This is one event that everyone has to go to at least once in their lifetime even if you are not a golf fan. Have a good one and always hit your target.

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