WM Phoenix Open: The Famous 16th and Molinari’s Ace

Iconic 16th hole at WM Phoenix Open (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Iconic 16th hole at WM Phoenix Open (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale has become one of the most recognizable holes in golf over the years, it’s known for the wild party-like atmosphere that is generated from the thousands of spectators that encompass the tiny hole, it is very much a modern-day coliseum.

It has the potential to be one of the most intimidating situations that a PGA professional will face each year, with the 16th’s onlookers ready to boo any errant shot that fails to find the green of the par 3. Of course, they are also more than willing to go absolutely bonkers should you produce the extraordinary.

There have been many memorable moments throughout the years at this remarkable little hole, and on very rare occasions something extraordinary has been witnessed. Nine, that is the number of players that have written their names in the history books after producing a hole-in-one on this memorable par 3.

“it’s not something that we get anywhere else in the world or anywhere else in any other tournament.”   -Francesco Molinari

Italian Francesco Molinari was the most recent player to accomplish the feat back in 2015 after he saw his ball bounce twice to the right of the flagstick before rolling left and into the cup. It was a wedge shot that he will never forget.

Molinari got to witness firsthand the unique and chaotic atmosphere on the 16th as beer bottles rained down upon the green with onlookers going absolutely wild after his golf ball found the hole.

“I don’t know how to describe it. You know, you have to see it and it was obviously amazing for me to be there and have a hole-in-one in that scenario,” he said famously after.

Molinari may have been the most recent player to send the fans into a frenzy after a hole in one on 16, but before him, the incredible Jarred Lyle also reached the same heights in 2011.

Lyle (2011), Mike Sposa (2002), Steve Stricker (1997), Tiger Woods (1997), Jay Delsing (1991), Brad Bryant (1990), David Edwards (1990), and Hal Sutton back in 1988, are the only players to have recorded a hole in one on the iconic 16th at the WM Pheonix Open.

Tiger Woods famous hole out back in 1997 came back when the modern coliseum that encompasses the 16th today wasn’t even around, even though it was 25 years ago the fans still reacted in a similar fashion.

Complete chaos is part of the fabric of this tournament, and one of the elements that makes it so special, especially when it comes on the iconic 16th.

Molinari’s ace seven years ago was the last time that the famous 16th hole witnessed such an event and there is no doubt that the thousands in attendance this week will be hoping to see another added to the record books.

There will be several PGA professionals this week that will have likely never experienced anything like what they will face when they walk into the coliseum on 16, and whatever happens, it will most certainly be a moment that they won’t quickly forget, just like Molinari experienced in 2015.

Just like Francesco said in 2015, the experience at this incredible hole is unlike anything else golfers will see around the globe, it is unlike any other tournament. So whether you love it or hate it, just enjoy the moment and soak it in, it’s unique and it only happens once a year.