PGA TOUR to honor Kobe Bryant on 16th hole at Waste Management Phoenix Open
Hole location will be 24 paces on and 8 from the left
February 01, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Kobe Bryant tribute on 16th hole at Waste Management
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The PGA TOUR will alter the traditional final-round hole location to honor the late Kobe Bryant at the par-3 16th hole for the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday.
RELATED: Bryant tributes abound in Phoenix
The hole will be cut 24 paces on and 8 from the left edge of the green to honor Bryant’s two most recognized jersey numbers throughout a career that saw him win five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. The flag will also honor his jersey numbers with a purple 24 on one side and 8 on the other.
Bryant, an 18-time All-Star, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, last Sunday. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others also died in the crash.
Athletes have been paying tribute all week. Golfers at TPC Scottsdale used altered equipment – wedges stamped with “Black Mamba,” Bryant’s nickname, and balls with the number 24. Tony Finau and Justin Thomas wore Bryant jerseys to honor the player who with Shaquille O’Neal won three straight NBA titles from 2000-02, and two more in ’09-10.
“It’s nice the TOUR pays tribute because he wasn’t just a basketball icon, he was a world icon,” said Gary Woodland (69, 7 under), who played basketball collegiately until turning exclusively to golf. “It’s been an emotional week for me and my wife. He’s been an example as a father and how to give your kids opportunities, and I’ve always looked up to him as a basketball player, with the work ethic that he had.”
The Lakers played their first game since the news broke, a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, after an emotional pre-game tribute at the Staples Center.
The altered hole location at TPC Scottsdale will wrap up what has been a somber week, and will not be a huge departure. “We’ll just go back a little farther and a touch more left,” PGA TOUR Vice President of Rules and Competition Slugger White said.
“I think that’s awesome,” Rickie Fowler (69, 7 under) said of the move. “It’s a cool gesture. You can’t do enough for what Kobe has done and the impact he’s had around the world.”