Sunny, with a chance of (beer) showers: Restriction-free Phoenix Open returns in big way

Scottie Scheffler was thrilled to hoist the trophy after winning the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday. (Photo by Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News)

Many fans wore jerseys representing their favorite Super Bowl team, including this group that gave the Cincinnati Bengals their spirited support. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

Arizona State product Jon Rahm did not produce the tournament results he hoped, but he enjoyed the large following of ASU fans. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

Devin Booker was one of many celebrities who attended the WM Phoenix Open. He watched the event on Friday with Phoenix Suns teammate Chris Paul. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

The 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open had only seen nine holes-in-one before this year’s tournament. Two more were added. (Photo by Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News)

Patrick Cantlay missed his putt at the 18th hole and finished in second after losing to Scheffler in a third playoff round. (Photo by Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News)

The host Thunderbirds had an additional responsibility at the 2022 WM Phoenix Open: picking up beer cans. Two holes-in-one inspired the celebrations. (Photo by Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News)

Scheffler celebrated after winning his first PGA Tour championship following three playoff rounds against Patrick Cantlay at the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. (Photo by Mary Grace Grabill/Cronkite News)

Tony Finau happily celebrated his birdie putt on the 16th hole Friday, much to the delighted of animated fans. (Photo by Hogan Armstrong/Cronkite News)

SCOTTSDALE – TPC Scottsdale is the only place on the PGA Tour where a golf tournament breaks out in the middle of a party.

The crowds are so large at the WM Phoenix Open that the tournament’s sponsoring organization, the Thunderbirds, quit keeping official numbers a few years ago, and patrons are as likely to be dressed as if they’re attending Coachella as a professional golf event.

The 2022 edition didn’t disappoint.

Tournament week brought out golf fans and party goers alike, all ready to release the pent-up energy of a lingering pandemic. They were greeted by sunny skies and temperatures that hovered near 80 degrees – with a couple of showers.

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Those were scattered around the famous par-3 16th hole, where Sam Ryder unleashed chaos with a Saturday hole-in-one and fans celebrated by spraying beer into the air and raining beer cans, cups and water bottles down on the green, bunkers and desert landscaping as Ryder’s caddie leaped into his golfer’s arms.

It was the first ace at No. 16 since 2015, but it took less than 24 hours for Carlos Ortiz to hole the next one Sunday, setting off another downpour.

The true golf fans didn’t leave disappointed, either. They watched Sahith Theegala, who got into the tournament on a sponsor exemption, nearly pull off an improbable victory before fading on the final holes.

Ultimately, Scottie Scheffler’s back-nine charge forced a two-man playoff with Patrick Cantlay, Scheffler emerged with his first PGA Tour victory on the third hole of sudden-death and the party moved to sports bars and living rooms for Super Bowl LVI.

Shane Fricke sheyn frickee
Sports Broadcast Reporter, Phoenix

Shane Fricke expects to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Fricke, who co-hosted the show “Coast2Coast” for Blaze Radio, is working for the Phoenix sports bureau.

Hogan Armstrong Hoe-gan Arm-str-aw-ng
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Hogan Armstrong expects to graduate in spring 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. Armstrong, who was a research and development intern for Criminal Minded Media, is working for the Phoenix sports bureau.

Mary Grace Grabill meh-ree grays grey-bull (she/her)
Sports Digital Producer, Phoenix

Mary Grace Grabill expects to graduate in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in film production. Grabill has interned as a photographer with McGaw YMCA Camp Echo and Phoenix Magazine.

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