SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — On the eve of the Super Bowl, the WM Phoenix Open certainly drew large crowds and didn’t fall short of providing entertainment.
Friday’s action at the 16th hole warmed up the crowd after a streaker made waves and swam through the water hazards from the 17th hole and 18th hole. With another sellout crowd at TPC Scottsdale for the third round, Saturday was bound to be entertaining.
From crowd sing-alongs to sightings of other sports figures, here are some of Saturday’s best moments from the 16th hole.
A sweet scene
With the second round cutting into Saturday morning, there was plenty of idle time at the 16th hole before the first group of the third round trickled in around noon.
As it got closer for the action to begin, the video boards had a little fun and began a sing-along to the crowd-pleaser, “Sweet Caroline.”
Sweet Caroline on 16
— Golf on CBS (@GolfonCBS) February 11, 2023
That wasn’t the only tune that the crowd sang either. A group dressed as the Founding Fathers (wigs and all) sang the national anthem that caught on. A few days earlier, a group serenaded Canadian golfer Adam Hadwin with ‘O Canada’ at the 16th hole.
Brittney Griner hasn’t made many public appearances since being released from a Russian penal colony after a prisoner swap for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer, in December. But the Phoenix Mercury center was at the 16th hole with her wife, Cherelle, on Saturday. Griner had previously made her first public appearance last January when she surprised participants at a MLK Day march in downtown Phoenix.
— Adam Schupak (@AdamSchupak) February 12, 2023
Griner was interacting with fans at the 16th hole while enjoying the action from between the ropes. Griner still intends to come back to the Mercury this season. The team has yet to re-sign Diana Taurasi and Griner, but traded Diamond DeShields on Saturday.
It hasn’t been a week since Matt Ishbia was introduced as the new majority owner for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, but he’s already acquainted with one of the area’s biggest sporting events. The Suns have garnered lots of buzz this week on top of Ishbia’s introduction. Late Wednesday night, the Suns pulled off a blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant and earned widespread praise.
Ishbia was among many attendees at the 16th hole, including Suns players Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Josh Okogie, and Washington Mystics player Elena Delle Donne.
Ishbia and Paul watched Rory McIlroy tee off as McIlroy finished with a par 3 at the hole.
A gift from below
In a tournament that already has a lot of interactions between the players and the fans, there’s even more going on at the 16th hole.
Golfer Ryan Palmer continued his yearly tradition of treating fans with a golf ball that has $10 attached to it and says “Have a beer.”
Saturday at the Open means a green out and fans who arrived in the grandstands of the 16th hole received a free green t-shirt. WM and the Thunderbirds will donate money to sustainability-focused nonprofits for everyone wearing green on Saturday.
The large amount of attendees that came for the Super Bowl and the Open certainly contributed to Saturday’s green out with many Eagles fans in attendance.
Photos: Check out the fans at the people’s tournament, the 2023 WM Phoenix Open
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