The 2022 WM Phoenix Open is remembered as Scottie Scheffler’s first win on the PGA Tour.
But memory 1A has to be the Saturday hole-in-one on the 16th hole by Sam Ryder, the 11th ace on the iconic hole at TPC Scottsdale in tournament history. Carlos Ortiz made the 12th during Sunday’s final round, but it’s Ryder’s hole-out that stole the headlines.
The 15,000 fans in the coliseum – well, at least those who were actually watching the golf – had a great view of the Ryder shot, but perhaps the best seats in the house were occupied by the CBS Sports duo of Amanda Renner and Colt Knost.
For the first time last year, CBS built a set for the two just off the tee box for the third round coverage.
“That was all Sellers Shy,” Knost told Golfweek, crediting the lead producer for CBS Sports’ golf coverage. “I’m never scared to try something new.
“To try to describe the atmosphere down there makes it so much for us because it’s something that we don’t see anywhere else in the game of golf, 16 is so unique. It seriously is a party.”
So having this great set in a great spot on TPC Scottsdale is one thing. Dialing up a hole-in-one on live TV? Quite another.
“To have everything go as well as it did, to have Sam Ryder hit one of the best shots of the year last year and the mayhem that happened after made that and for us to be down there for all that, trying to call one of the coolest shots we’ve ever seen was just so much fun. Like, you couldn’t have drawn it up any better. It went so perfect. Everyone loved it and we saw one of the shots of the year.”
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? ALL the drinks on me pic.twitter.com/xIfIL6NLxG
— Sam Ryder (@SamRyderSU) February 12, 2022
Knost admitted he “got a beer can to the shoulder” as thousands of aluminum cans and bottles came raining down. “Definitely got some beer on my head. I know Amanda did, too.
“Obviously we don’t want anyone to get hurt. … but getting some beer on us, it makes it that much more authentic. … it was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever seen in the game of golf.”
CBS will have an on-course set for Knost and Renner at five PGA Tour stops in 2023:
Feb. 11: WM Phoenix Open, 16th hole
May 13: AT&T Byron Nelson, 17th hole
June 10: RBC Canadian Open, 14th hole
July 11: Rocket Mortgage Classic, 15th hole
Aug. 12: FedEx St. Jude Championship, 14th hole
Knost says it’s key to have the set “on an easy hole, where we can cool reaction, where we can get hole-in-ones, or possibly hole-in-ones. Phoenix is an easy one.”
So the set a hit. And so was the recent on-course, live talkback with a player on the course, as Max Homa demonstrated at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“It’s a change in the broadcast,” Knost said. “I think we’re starting to do some really cool things to make golf more fun on TV. Getting players to agree to be mic-ed up. … it’s all about trying new things because, to be honest, golf can be a little boring and we want it to be exciting.”
Photos: 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, home of WM Phoenix Open
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