SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The golf ball that etched Sam Ryder’s name into PGA Tour history on Super Bowl weekend will be showcased in Ryder’s own Hall of Fame — mom and dad’s house.
Ryder notched a hole-in-one on the infamous 16th hole in the third round of the 2022 WM Phoenix Open Saturday afternoon. He is just the 10th golfer to ace the 124-yard par 3 that more closely resembles a football stadium than a golf hole.
Ryder compared the Srixon ball to a football player’s first touchdown ball — meant for safe keeping. As for where it’ll be kept, Ryder said that his parents will be the rightful owners.
“I’m going to protect it,” said Ryder’s mom, Kelly, following the round.
Kelly and husband Art watched the pandemonium from the 16th hole tee box. The next time they visit TPC Scottsdale, their son’s name will be engraved alongside the likes of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on a plaque that honors the golfers who have achieved the holy grail of golf.
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? ALL the drinks on me 🍻🍻🍻 pic.twitter.com/xIfIL6NLxG
— Sam Ryder (@SamRyderSU) February 12, 2022
“I don’t think anybody else will ever experience a sporting event much better than that,” Art said. “To have it be your son was mind blowing.”
Kelly said that she was so at a loss for words when the ball dropped on the green that all she could do was joke about whether it really happened. And cry.
Ryder’s immediate reaction to the sunken shot was a quick jump into his caddy’s arms. However, once the pair retrieved his ball, Ryder was so focused on what the stroke did to his scorecard that the ball was almost mixed in with others in a side pocket of his golf bag.
“I was looking at my scorecard trying to figure out which holes I made bogie or birdie on,” Ryder said.
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Shooting a 2-under round brought the 32-year-old pro back to even par. While Art appreciated the short-term impact, he was more focused on the legacy it instantaneously created.
Art compared watching his son’s shot on 16 to Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” — the game-winning home run that punched the New York Giants’ ticket to the 1951 World Series.
“Those two strokes are important,” Art said. “But having your name etched into the history of the tournament. … That will always be there. I’ll be long gone, but people will still be talking about Sam Ryder’s home run.”
“My dad’s the kind of guy who remembers all the shots he’s ever hit,” Ryder said. “That’s a hole I will definitely never forget.”
Lauren Withrow is a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
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