WMPO Player Profile: Sam Ryder

Tom MAckinJanuary 5, 2023
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Despite playing in 117 PGA events prior to last year’s WM Phoenix Open, Sam Ryder was not known to many fans before he stepped to the 16th tee during the third round. That changed a few seconds later when the 32-year-old Florida native’s tee shot spun into the hole, causing bedlam among the spectators and creating a viral moment that earned him a place in tournament history.

  • CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: One victory each on the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA Tour Canada; 6 career Top-3 finishes on PGA Tour
  • BEST WMPO FINISH: T23 (2022)

Mackin: If you had to pick any par-3 on Tour, is that the par-3 you’d pick?

Ryder: I don’t know how I could pick a hole over this one. I don’t think there’s any hole that has the electricity that this one has. [Hole] 17 at The Players [at TPC Sawgrass in Florida] is a pretty special atmosphere too, but there’s nothing that really compares to the energy that’s in here. You know, it’s like you just got to embrace it and, you know, they either love you or they hate you. 

How have you done in the past on 16?

I’ve been feast or famine on that hole. I made a handful of birdies, made a couple bogeys. 

The fans went nuts, tossing a lot of things onto the green and the hole overall. What did you think about the clean-up?

There was debris everywhere and it was such a fun, exciting thing. I didn’t want any kind of, like, negativity to overshadow something that was really so much fun and happy and everything. But the crew did such a good job, the grounds crew, the Thunderbirds were out there picking up – how quickly they got it all cleaned up was pretty incredible. 

What were you thinking of doing with the ball?

My caddie [cleaned] it and was giving it back to me when I [told him], “Let’s just put that one away.” So, we put it in a different pocket, but there were a couple other balls in there, so I was like, “Woah, woah, woah.” So, we [found] a pocket finally and we put it in there. I’ll probably give it to my parents. They have some of my little trophies and stuff that I have, so it would probably mean more to them than it would to me.

*As of 11/28/22


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