BetCast Spotlight: 16 at TPC Scottsdale

Will Gray
·5 min read

It's one of the most famous environments in golf, even if it looks a little different this year.

The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale is known for its sky-high bleachers and raucous atmosphere, one of the few places on Tour where players sometimes encourage noise while they hit their shot. The pandemic means a different feel for this year's Waste Management Phoenix Open, but it's still a hole that will draw plenty of attention and analysis throughout the week.

Last year No. 16 was the 14th hardest (or fifth easiest) hole on the course, playing to an average score of -.055 under par. There were 80 birdies against 54 bogeys, while only two players left with a double bogey. There have been nine aces on the hole during competition, but none since Francesco Molinari in 2015.

This week marks the debut of NBC Sports Edge BetCast, a fully betting-centric live second-screen experience airing on Peacock every round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open with live odds powered by PointsBet Sportsbook. Let's take a look at some of the notable numbers and trends behind one of the most recognizable holes on Tour.

Famous - but not difficult

Thoughts about 16 often start creeping into players' minds as they make the turn, with the 11th tee at TPC Scottsdale a short distance from the 16th green. But once they arrive at 16, they find a unique but less than intimidating environment.

Measuring just 163 yards and with no water in play, it's a hole where players can often attack with a wedge or 9-iron in hand. Not surprisingly, most of the time they find the mark: the average GIR percentage over the last five years is 68.81 percent. Last year players hit the green in regulation just 65.99 percent of the time, but that was the first time since 2017 that the GIR percentage dipped below 72 percent. So if you're taking a chance on a player missing the green, make sure you get some solid odds.

Beach isn't bad

For the few that do miss the green, finding one of the three bunkers that guards the green isn't the worst place to end up.

Typically, getting up and down from the sand is a coin flip - even for the best on Tour. The current par save percentage from the sand this season is 50.18 percent. But that rate has improved dramatically on 16, where players have saved par out of the sand 58.9 percent of the time over the last five years and have done especially well the last two years:

Sand save percentage

2016: 59.6%

2017: 47.2%

2018: 51.5%

2019: 68.0%

2020: 64.7%

In fact, the last two years the par save rate from the sand has outpaced the general scrambling rate for all players missing the green. Which means that you might prefer to back a player facing a sand scramble than his playing competitor sitting a few yards away with a chip from off the edge. Last year there were eight hole-outs from off the green, but that was the first time since 2016 that there were more than four in a given week on this hole.

Aim small, miss small

Players often take dead aim at this hole, and the recent results back it up. The five-year average proximity to the hole is 28 feet, 5 inches, and only once since 2016 has the average crept above 30 feet. For perspective, the average proximity to the hole this season on Tour stands at 36 feet, 7 inches.

Average distance to pin

2016: 31' 7"

2017: 26' 3"

2018: 28' 5"

2019: 27' 8"

2020: 28' 5"

But if your player hits one a little off-target, don't lose faith. A total of 7 putts were made on this green outside of 25 feet, and while that may not seem like a ton, keep in mind that translated into an 8.2 percent make rate from that distance. The Tour average this season from 25 feet and beyond is just 5.56 percent.

Birdies may be tough to land

While the 16th is one of the easier holes at TPC Scottsdale, yielding just two double bogeys or worse last year, birdies can be a little tough to land even if you hit the green. The one-putt percentage over the last five years is 36.4 percent, which is actually below the current one-putt percentage on Tour this season (38.99 percent). Not surprisingly, the rate of success increases dramatically the closer you get to the target:

Made putt percentage on No. 16 (2016-20)

0-5 feet: 96.9%

5-10 feet: 56.2%

10-15 feet: 30.3%

15-20 feet: 17.8%

20-25 feet: 13.0%

25+ feet: 6.6%

While more than one-third of all players over the last five years have left the 16th green with a one-putt, three-putts have been few and far between. Last year there were a total of just four three-putts on No. 16 for the entire tournament, compared to 157 one-putts.

Golf Channel Research Unit contributed to this report.

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