The Waste Management Phoenix Open never ceases to amaze.
Every year, this tournament at TPC Scottsdale captivates the golfing world thanks to its famous par-3 16th, where a 20,000-seat stadium greets every player.
They are either cheered or jeered, depending on the outcome of their tee shots. Sometimes, whenever a hole-in-one occurs, fans will serenade the lucky player with alcoholic beverages.
But plenty of other notable occurrences have happened at TPC Scottsdale over the years, so we at Playing Through have decided to rank the top five most memorable moments from the WM Phoenix Open:
5. Phil Mickelson wins for third time; ties scoring record
Phil Mickelson, who attended nearby Arizona State University, opened the 2013 WM Phoenix Open with an 11-under 60 and did not look back.
The former Sun Devil blitzed TPC Scottsdale, as seemingly every one of his approach shots landed within a couple of feet of the hole. He gained a preposterous 19.807 shots that week, finishing the tournament at 28-under. That impressive mark tied the scoring record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.
TPC Scottsdale is a ball-striking course requiring players to hit greens in regulation to succeed. Mickelson did just that, hitting 63-of-72 greens that week to win by four shots over Brandt Snedeker.
His win in 2013 served as a harbinger of things to come as he went on to have a successful summer. He won The Open Championship at Muirfield one month after finishing second in the U.S. Open to Justin Rose at Merion.
4. Dozens of players honor Kobe Bryant in 2020
Four days before the opening round of the 2020 WM Phoenix Open, five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others lost their lives in a devastating helicopter crash in Southern California.
The tragedy hit the sports world hard, as professional athletes across the country paid tributes to Bryant and those who perished.
That sentiment applied in the golf world, with numerous players paying tribute to Bryant by wearing his signature Los Angeles Lakers jersey on the 16th hole.
Tony Finau and Aaron Wise wore his #8 jersey, while Justin Thomas wore Bryant’s high school jersey from Lower Merion in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Max Homa and others donned Bryant’s #24 Laker jersey as well.
Then, on Sunday, the agronomy team at TPC Scottsdale created a flag that displayed Bryant’s numbers on the 16th hole.
These tributes were special, albeit heartbreaking.
3. Andrew Magee did the unthinkable in 2001
Four-time PGA Tour winner Andrew Magee recorded a hole-in-one on the par-4 17th, the only ace on a par-4 in PGA Tour history!
It happened during the first round, but funny enough, no video of this accomplishment exists.
Instead, multiple eyewitnesses can verify what happened in what is undoubtedly the strangest ace in professional golf history.
Coming off a double bogey at the 15th, Magee was steaming. His patience had worn thin, and thus, he grew tired of the group ahead of him. So, he decided to uncork a driver on the 332-yard par-4, which went way farther than expected.
His ball rolled onto the green, ricocheted off Tom Byrum’s putter, and went right into the hole. Steve Pate—a part of Byrum’s group on the green—had to jump out of the way of Magee’s ball!
But that miracle did not help Magee that much. He tied for 44th that week as Mark Calcavecchia won at 28-under, eight shots ahead of Rocco Mediate.
2. Tiger Woods records an ace
In the third round of the 1997 WM Phoenix Open, 21-year-old Tiger Woods arrived at the par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale.
He pulled out his 9-iron and hit a picture-perfect shot. His ball bounced twice, then dropped into the hole for a spectacular ace, thus eliciting a deafening noise from the crowd.
At that point, the stadium surrounding the famous 16th hole did not exist. But thousands upon thousands of people witnessed this amazing shot, which is one of the best Woods ever hit.
Of course, just a few months later, Woods went on to win the 1997 Masters in record fashion. He decimated Augusta National, winning by 12 shots at 18-under par.
1. Gary Woodland and Amy Bockerstette unite
During the 2019 WM Phoenix Open, Amy Bockerstette and Gary Woodland met on the 16th hole during the Tuesday pro-am.
Bockerstette, a 20-year-old golfer with Down Syndrome, played the hole alongside Woodland and Matt Kuchar.
After hitting her tee shot into the greenside bunker, Bockerstette hit up onto the green and faced a 10-foot putt for par.
But before approaching her putt, she turned to Woodland and said, “I got this.”
True to her word, Bockerstette rolled it into the center of the cup, eliciting a massive roar from the crowd on hand. The moment also went viral on social media, as her “I got his” mantra became an internet sensation.
A few months later, Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by three shots over Brooks Koepka. After holing the final putt, Woodland FaceTimed Bockerstette, telling her he relied on her “positive energy.”
Two days later, Woodland, Bockerstette, and the U.S. Open trophy appeared side-by-side on The Today Show, with Woodland confidently saying that the two of them “won this together.”
Today, Bockerstette and her non-profit, aptly named the I GOT THIS Foundation, help provide golf instruction and playing opportunities while creating lasting memories for individuals with intellectual disabilities.