A fan enjoys action on the 16th hole during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Getty Images).
The Tour talks a lot about its charitable efforts.
And sure enough, there’s been plenty of giving at the Waste Management Open this week: fans giving it to players, and players giving in return.
As usual, the most generous exchanges have taken place on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, the Roman Coliseum of the royal and ancient game.
Everyone gets an earful here, but few players have heard more than Vijay Singh, whose surly reputation (to say nothing of his experimentation with a certain aerosol product) make him a popular fan target.
“A-Rod!” fans taunted as Singh took the box at the short par-3, alluding to Singh’s admitted use of deer antler spray.
Some spectators donned fake deer antlers, while others serenaded the Fijian with a rousing rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Singh responded in a fashion familiar to anyone who has followed him throughout the years: he ignored the crowd, and made a ho-hum par.
Not all of the exchanges have been so chilly.
Greeted with a chorus of “Take your time!” and “Sabbatini’s right behind you!”, the notoriously deliberate Ben Crane grinned, then stuck one close.
Treated to chants of “Heidi’s hot!” (a reference to his TV reporter cousin, Heidi Watney), Nick Watney shook his head and smiled sadly, like a mildly disappointed parent.
Scott Piercy, who attended the same high school as adult film star Jenna Jameson, got: “Porn star’s classmate!” He responded with a playfully profane gesture that is best not described here.
No detail, it seems, is too personal. But few seem to mind.
If Hunter Mahan was amused when the crowd addressed him with a singsongy “Kandi kissed Romo!” (Mahan’s wife, Kandi Harris, is a former Dallas Cowboys’ cheerleader), he didn’t show it. But he also wasn’t irritated.
As he walked off the tee, he tossed dozens of Oakley sunglasses into the stands.
Throwing swag to the masses is a ritual here too, born a few years back when Kevin Streelman first showered the crowd with Lemonhead candies.
More recently, the gifts have grown more elaborate.
On Saturday alone, Roberto Castro distributed fine cigars. Phil Mickelson and Ricky Barnes made like Super Bowl QBs and tossed pigskins into the grandstands.
And LSU alumnus John Peterson distributed colorful Mardi Gras beads.
“Come on!” a fan shouted in return. “Give me something I can’t buy at a 7-11!”
More warmly received was a gift from Ryan Palmer.
“Beers are on me, guys,” Palmer called out before tossing up a wad of $20 bills into the stands.
A scrum ensued, and when the tumult finally died, the crowd was some $300 richer. Among the lucky was Milo Milosevich of Phoenix, who quickly turned his windfall into Budweiser.
“Can’t say I paid too much attention to (Palmer) in the past,” Milosevich said. “But my favorite player on Tour now? Ryan Palmer. No doubt.”