Cleat Geeks

The 19th Hole

While most of you were flipping over to “the big game” on Sunday, you missed out on quadruple overtime at the peoples major. It took 4 extra holes for Hideki Matsuyama to outlast Rickie Fowler at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This will go down as one of Rickie’simgres-1 worst tactical errors on tour. At the 317-yard par four 17th, with water left and deep, Rickie pulled driver and it was the shot that cost him the tournament. Sure, he went to play-off holes after that with a chance to win but he could’ve put away the tournament with a birdie, maybe even a par on 17 in regulation. He carried his tee shot about 285, landing on the front edge of the green, and it rolled through the 110ft green, down the backside of the green, and right into the drink. All he needed to do was hit a 7 iron, wedge, and 2 putt and he goes into the straight forward 18th just needing to match whatever Hideki would’ve made. Instead, Rickie pulled driver and lost the tournament right there in that moment.

This tournament represents everything that is Rickie Fowler and I cannot believe he didn’t win. Rickie is different in the way he dresses with the flatbill, hightops, joggers, and bright colors, just like the patrons that show up for the WM Phoenix Open. Very few are actually golf fans and the majority just enjoy seeing, being seen, or simply just a day drinking. Rickie is young and full of energy. If you watched any of the coverage of 16 that’s exactly what you would’ve seen, as well. Finally, Rickie is exactly what golf needs more of, just like the Phoenix Open. It gets people interested in golf that wouldn’t normally be interested, just like Rickie. He really blew his chance to win the tournament that reflects everything that makes up Rickie Fowler.

The WM Phoenix Open broke the attendance record for a single day, and entire tournament with 200,000+ SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 2: Fans cheer Phil Mickelson's near hole-in-one on the 16th hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 2, 2013 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)people on Saturday, and 601,000+ people for the week. Incredible. The par three 16th did not disappoint either.

There were cheers, boos, booze, and plenty of “scenery.” At 16, it doesn’t matter if you know who is the leader, who’s teeing off, or even what day it is, and that’s what makes 16 the most fun hole in golf.  For a pretty simple par 3 for 9 other months of the year, the Thunderbirds really know how to make it fun by surrounding it with a stadium and making sure the fans are feeling good all day. The Waste Management Open is on my bucket list and it should be on yours as well.

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