Without the enormous grandstand stadium buildout, TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole wouldn’t be so difficult.
But that isn’t the case during the WM Phoenix Open, as 17,000 fans pack the bleachers on the hole, creating one of golf’s most unique atmospheres.
With the bleachers comes noise. And compared to how pros are used to hitting golf shots, noise turns a standard par-3 into something unlike anything else on Tour.
That’s why Rickie Fowler treats the 16th unlike any other hole on Tour.
In recent years, Fowler has turned up the noise on himself, encouraging the crowd to reach a fever pitch even in his backswing. It’s a strange strategy, but one he says actually works wonders for him.
“At that point, you can adjust to that level of noise and it’s constant,” Fowler told Spieth and GOLF Subpar co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on this week’s episode. “Versus if you don’t get everyone loud, you can hear all the chatter and drinks being made and drunk people.”
Plus, Fowler says, it helps to keep his mind away from any wandering thoughts.
“You just get jealous,” he said. “You kind of you hear a drink being made and you kind of want one.”
But cranking up the noise can also have the opposite effect. The crowd exploded a year ago when Sam Ryder made a hole-in-one, sending beer (and beer cans) into the air, leading to a stoppage in play while workers cleaned up the mess. Still, Fowler supposes, cheers are louder than boos.
For more from this week’s episode with Spieth and Fowler, recorded live from Subpar’s first outing, The Larry, make sure to listen to the full episode below.