UPDATED: December 2013
The par-3 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is an undisputed iconic hole of the PGA tour. In 1997, Tiger Woods, a 21-year-old at the time, took a nine iron out of his bag and hit a hole-in-one on the 16th. I was there when it happened, in a corporate tent that overlooked the hole. You can see a YouTube video of that shot here. The 16th hole has changed in design and layout over the years. Here is how it looked in 2006..
While you won't see Tiger Woods try for that hole-in-one this year (he no longer plays in the Phoenix Open), there is still plenty of excitement there. Golfers either love or dread the walk through the tunnel to approach the tee box. The crowd here eschews typical golf etiquette, as they cheer and jeer the tee shots of the pros. It's a stadium environment, like a basketball or football game. In 2013 a digital runner video board that wraps around the back of the tee box and down the sides was introduced. Where else but at TPC Scottsdale would you see the words "Make Some Noise" in huge LED lights?
Over the years different procedures have been put in place to try to control the amount of alcohol consumed by fans in that area, who can get overly rowdy and downright rude by the late afternoon hours. You'll have to check each year to see if there are specific liquor policies in place. generally speaking, security staff patrols the area to take care of unduly unruly (I love those two words together!) patrons.
As for seating, I am often contacted by people visiting the area about how they can buy tickets for seats at the 16th hole. The answer is, you can't. There are only two types of seats at the 16th hole:
- There are nearly 200 skyboxes at the 16th hole. Those are typically purchased by corporate entities, so you'd have to know someone at a company who purchased a skybox to get one of those seats. Of course, if you and 33 of your friends want to share the cost of a skybox, that's not a problem. It will cost you about $1,400 per person.
- There are no other tickets sold that are specifically for the 16th hole. There is no grass seating or standing room area with a view of this hole. There are about 4,500 General Admission seats. That means that anyone who paid to get into the Waste Management Phoenix Open can sit in those areas. You'd better get there early and plan to sit there all day if you want one of those seats.
I go to the Phoenix Open to see fantastic golfers do their best on a challenging golf course during what we hope will be a week of beautiful weather. I go to walk and enjoy the outdoors. I avoid the 16th hole. I have to admit, though, that it provides a great opportunity for unique television coverage and commentary!
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