‘I just kind of blacked out’: Pro recalls loudest, wildest ace in golf history

Sam Ryder of the United States reacts to his hole-in-one with Brian Harman of the United States on the 16th hole during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 12, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Sam Ryder's ace at the 2022 WM Phoenix Open caused pandemonium.

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A year later, Sam Ryder still gets goosebumps thinking about his hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale’s iconic stadium par-3 16th.

And can you blame him?

“It was just one of those things where it just like the crowd started getting louder,” he told GOLF.com on Monday. “I just kind of blacked out there for almost a little bit and it was — I mean, I didn’t even see the beer bottles and stuff coming down if they hit me, I wouldn’t have even felt that. The adrenaline was crazy. My lip was trembling.”

In the third round of the 2022 tournament, when tens of thousands of jacked-up fans packed TPC Scottsdale to the brim, Ryder flushed a gap wedge from 124 yards which hit the green, spun left and dripped right into the cup for an ace.

The stadium hole exploded and the “biggest party in golf” lived up to its name.

“There’s liquid coming down. There’s cans everywhere,” CBS analyst Colt Knost said on the broadcast.

So much beer and other items rained down from the stands that play had to be halted to clean things up.

Ryder did what anyone else would do in the situation with booze flying about and a crowd screaming louder than a jet flyby: He found his mom and gave her a hug.

That’s when he started to notice what was happening with the crowd.

“I remember thinking I was just realizing that all the debris and stuff, I was just thinking, like, I hope, this doesn’t turn into something negative because this is so awesome,” Ryder said. “And really it didn’t. They did a great job of cleaning all up.”

The hole-in-one was only the beginning of the excitement on 16 for the weekend.

Harry Higgs and Joel Dahmen brought a different look to the 16th hole.
Shirtless PGA Tour pros?! Harry Higgs, Joel Dahmen go wild at 16
By: Dylan Dethier

“I think it opened the floodgates right to then, you know, Carlos [Ortiz] had a hole-in-one the next day,” Ryder said. “[Justin Thomas] chipped in. We know what happened with Joel [Dahmen] and Harry [Higgs] on that hole. It’s a special hole. And I was thankful [Waste Management] and the Tour — they’ve done a good job of setting that stage.”

While Ryder said he was never worried about the danger factor, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan later had to play fun police a little and said the issue of throwing beer cans and water bottles would be addressed for this year’s event.

The solution seems to be offering souvenir plastic cups for beers, as opposed to selling them in cans.

Tradition dictates when a player makes a hole-in-one, he or she buys everyone a round at the 19th hole. With 17,000 fans just one the one hole alone with him, Ryder’s tab took a little bit more of a dent, he said.

“I wanted to take care of caddies, players, the grounds crew, everyone did such a good job,” Ryder said. “I mean, I was getting Venmo requests, I was getting Instagram DMs. I was— everything. But it didn’t matter. I was happy to pay. I was like, You think when you make a hole-in-one, you get like a car or win a prize or something and I’m like really just earning a big bar tab. But it was all good.”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.



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