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An Insider's Hole-by-Hole Look at Hazeltine During the 2016 Ryder Cup

Written by Hazeltine National on Jul 1, 2024 11:42:00 AM

The 2016 Ryder Cup was one for the record books and an experience attendees will not soon forget. The Americans won for the first time since 2008 at Valhalla, and won by their largest margin since the 9-point victory in 1981 at Walton Heath. The final score was 17-11 in favor of the Americans, a commanding 6-point victory. 

Below, we'll take you hole-by-hole through the championship course as it was arranged during the 2016 Ryder Cup, as well as share some of our favorite memories. 

Special thanks to Hazeltine Member Dan Mulheran who took social media fans on a tour of the championship golf course the summer leading up the 2016 Ryder Cup. We've added some of his insights below to share the unique perspective of a Hazeltine Member leading up to this historic event. In addition to this article, we encourage you to view our flyover course tour.  

Ryder Cup Routing Course Tour

For the first time in the history of Hazeltine National, the golf course was re-routed. For the 2016 Ryder Cup, holes 1-4 and 14-18 comprised the front nine, while the back nine included holes 10-13 and 5-9. Hazeltine used this Ryder Cup routing for the entire 2016 season.

Ryder Cup #1

Hole 1Hole 1 at Hazeltine.

Seeing the first tee box of any Ryder Cup is a unique and electric experience! The passion for the teams, the excitement of the crowd, and the determination of the players & captains all culminate on the first tee box on Friday morning!

HNGCrydercupv2All of the planning, the strategy, the construction, the volunteers, the qualification, and the captains’ picks come down to this one special place. Players have said they were just happy to get the ball airborne, while others have said that they had to switch the order with their partner. Without a doubt, the 1st tee at the Ryder Cup is one of the most unique and demanding in all of golf!

The 1st at Hazeltine played at 442 yards during the 2016 Ryder Cup. Typically, the first hole's championship tee is 490 out. However, it was not used due to the large grandstand in front of it. The hole plays slightly downhill with three fairway bunkers and three green-side bunkers. The green complex slopes from back right to front left and contains ac narrow opening in the front left.

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

Hazeltine National Golf Club is proud to announce a long-term partnership with the distinguished architecture firm of Love Golf Design to develop a comprehensive master plan. The design team is led Davis Love III, World Golf Hall of Famer and Captain of the 2016 USA Ryder Cup Team.

This partnership follows the club’s year-long process of thoroughly exploring, conversing with, and interviewing the country’s leading architects. The extensive portfolio of Love Golf Design work includes both new course designs such as the Dunes Course at Diamante in Cabo, Mexico, Kinderlou Forest Golf Club in Georgia, and the Love Course at Barefoot Resort in South Carolina, in addition to major renovations at Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina, Sea Island Golf Club, Retreat Course and Plantation Courses, both in Georgia, as well as TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

Click here to learn more about Hazeltine's partnership with Love Golf Design.

Ryder Cup #2

Hole 2Hole 2 at Hazeltine.

The second is a dogleg left that plays slightly uphill. At 429 yards, it is one of the shorter par 4's on the course. The hole provides for a spectrum of opportunities off the tee from conservative to aggressive. Three fairway bunkers and four green-side bunkers are in play on the second, but perhaps the best challenge is the subtle breaks in several different pin locations on the green.

Ryder Cup #3

Hole 3Hole 3 at Hazeltine.

A lengthy Par 5, the third plays 633 yards from the championship tees. Although several members may tell you they have reached this green in two, it's a rare feat even for the bigger hitters. There is a significant upslope in the fairway that begins approximately 330 yards off the tee. One of the largest and deepest bunkers on the course guards all but the very front left of this green. The fairway also slopes severely from left to right for the last 120 yards.

Ryder Cup #4

Hole 4Hole 4 at Hazeltine.

The 4th is the first Par 3 on the course. Playing 210 yards, the 4th is the only par 3 without a water hazard on the course. The biggest defense that this hole has is pin placement and green speed. The front-to-back slope will require an accurate shot that is left below the hole. Sidehill and downhill putts on this green can be treacherous!

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

Hazeltine has had only four Professionals in our 54-year history. The first Professional was Don Waryan. Totton Heffelfinger hired him from Woodhill Country Club to head the new club. In 1977, Mike Schultz took the helm for 37 years. Schultz led Hazeltine through several USGA events and both PGA Championships. Mike was inducted into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame in 2009 and retired in 2012. Next up was Chandler Withington who led the Hazeltine's golf program for nearly 10 years. And finally, Kyle Brandt was hired in 2022 as the fourth Head Golf Professional in our storied history.

Ryder Cup #5

Hole 14Hole 14 at Hazeltine.

At just 352 yards, the 5th at the 2016 Ryder Cup (typically the 14th hole) is the shortest Par 4 on the course. The world’s best were able to hit drivers (and even some 3 woods) onto this green to provide their teams with eagle opportunities. 

As a matter of fact, Patrick Reed was able to square up his unforgettable singles match against Rory McIlroy with a great tee shot to this green followed by an eagle putt. 

Additionally, in the anchor match of the Saturday morning foursomes, Sergio Garcia hit an errant tee shot on #5 that ended up in a marshal's pocket. Not something you see everyday!

Ryder Cup #6

Hole 15Hole 15 at Hazeltine.

The 6th is a monster of a hole! Measuring 642 yards, it was the longest hole on the course, and one of the five longest holes in major championship history!

Only the very longest hitters had a chance to reach this green in two. The decision to try provided interesting twists to the matches in 2016. Some believe the length of the 6th (along with the 11th & 12th) even came into play when the captains determined pairings.

"One of the best shots I've ever seen" was a Tiger Woods comment when he watched his playing partner in the 2009 PGA Championship, Padrig Harrington, reach the green from 301 yards out of the left fairway bunker. Harrington hit it to 12 feet!

The 6th is also home to the most bunkers of any hole on the course (tied with #11). A stunning optical is to stand at the beginning of the hole and see all 14 bunkers, then walk to the back of the green and you can't see a single one!

Many Ryder Cup fans remember Patrick Reed's hole-out from 79 yards for eagle during his four-ball round on Saturday. One of the most electrifying shots for the Americans in this tournament. 

And of course, who can forget the fan interaction on the 6th green during Thursday's practice round. A spectator, David Johnson, heckled Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullieagvan as they struggled to sink a 12-foot putt. Henrik Stenson (who was also in the group with Justin Rose) called Johnson out of the stands to give him the opportunity to prove his claim that he could make the putt these professionals seemingly couldn't. Rose elevated the stakes and heightened this lucky fan's experience by placing a $100 bill on the ground. Johnson buried the putt and the crowd erupted. He left with signed golf balls and the $100 bill signed by Stenson, Rose, and McIlory. 

Ryder Cup #7

Hole 16Hole 16 at Hazeltine.

Often referred to as the "Signature Hole" at Hazeltine National Golf Club, the Ryder Cup 7th is an incredible and picturesque golf hole.

The 402 yard par 4 curves along the shoreline of Hazeltine Lake. The optimal drive requires a 200+ yard carry over the lake with a slight fade. A shot that draws off the tee will bring the creek along the left side of the fairway into play. Too much fade will bring the lake into play or block the approach to the green. The approach shot is not for the faint of heart either. The elevated peninsula green complex juts out into Hazeltine Lake. Wind conditions will play a major factor in the scoring opportunities here.

The 7th is where the Reed vs. McIlroy match really started to pick up some steam as Rory "shushed" Reed immediately after matching Reed's birdie putt. Fans were lucky to experience even more fireworks from these two on the 8th green.... 

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

The 7th has seen significant drama over the years but maybe none more so than the 1991 U.S. Open.

Traditionally played as hole #16, this was the sight of the turning point of the 18 hole Monday playoff for the 1991 championship. Scott Simpson was leading Payne Stewart by 2 strokes with just 3 holes to play. A birdie by Stewart and bogie by Simpson left them all square. Stewart would go on to win The U.S. Open on the final two holes.

In preparation for the 2002 PGA Championship Hazeltine commissioned the Payne Stewart Bridge. The bridge connects the tee complex of this hole with the fairway and commemorates the life of this wonderful man and his contributions to the game of golf.

Ryder Cup #8

Hole 17Hole 17 at Hazeltine.

The 8th at Hazeltine is a 186-yard par 3. Like many par 3's this hole is primarily defended by its challenging green complex. There are several very challenging pin placements on this green with a lower bowl on the front left. There are two water hazards and four bunkers in play as well. Precise tee shots were be at a premium on the 8th in 2016.

During the Reed vs. McIlroy match, Rory followed up his "shush" on #7 by burying an absolutely incredible birdie putt from 60 feet. As the putt dropped, Rory cupped his ear and screamed at the top of his lungs, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" 

Of course, as it was in this epic match, Reed matched Rory's birdie by canning his 20-foot putt followed by a finger wag in Rory's direction. The two exchanged a knuckle bump as they walked off the green to pay their respects as they both gave the fans a memory for life. Many fans in attendance say that's the loudest cheer they've ever experienced on a golf course. 

This hole also featured the closest shot we had to a hole-in-one in 2016 as Henrik Stenson's drive narrowly missed the cup. 

Ryder Cup #9

Hole 18Hole 18 at Hazeltine.

The historic and hallowed 475-yard finishing hole of Hazeltine played as Ryder Cup #9 in 2016.

Past champions like Payne Stewart, Tony Jacklin, Billy Casper, Hollis Stacy, Sandra Spuzich, Rich Beem, & YE Yang have all celebrated their Major Championship victories on this green. 

During the Ryder Cup, Rickie Fowler chipped in from just off the green to give the fans something to cheer about early Friday morning to take the lead in his match with Phil Mickelson. 

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

Although famous for the conclusion of several major championships, this hole is also famous for one of the best to ever play the game, Tiger Woods, claiming that the best shot he has ever hit was on this hole at Hazeltine. It was during the 2002 PGA Championship that Tiger woods Hit a 3 iron with a very difficult lie, out of the bunker adjacent to #9 fairway, with 20 mph wind, over an enormous tree that separates the 9th and 18th fairways, to 20 feet.

Fittingly, he concluded by also making the putt for a very unexpected birdie. Watch the historic shot where Tiger says he "never felt contact that solid in my life".

Ryder Cup #10

Hole 10Hole 10 at Hazeltine.

A member favorite, this hole is a fantastic four-ball golf hole. A dogleg left, this par four plays 452 yards. The fairway drops more than 40 feet in elevation from the center of the fairway to the green complex.

A relatively easy drive favors the left center of the fairway, it only required a 3 wood for many of the world’s best to have a good look at the green. A well-placed draw that cut the corner over the trees landed on the downslope of the fairway and left many of the players just short of the green.

The incredible view from the fairway pairs the 10th green with the 16th green (Ryder Cup #7) on the shores of Hazeltine Lake. The green slopes from front right to back left and a ball that does not spin may roll off the back and into the lake.

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

Hazeltine National Golf Club was founded by former USGA President Totton P. Heffelfinger and famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones in 1962. While the word “Hazeltine” is an English term meaning “a valley where hazel trees grow,” the golf course was named after the bordering Hazeltine Lake.

Ryder Cup #11

Hole 11Hole 11 at Hazeltine.

The Par 5 11th hole is listed at 606 yards. The tee shot is uphill with fairway bunkers at the crest of the hill guarding against an aggressive line trying to cut the corner on this lengthy double dogleg right.

The hole design offers a contour that narrows the remainder of the fairway into somewhat of an hourglass shape with bunkers again requiring precision on both sides of the fairway.

The green complex is large but significantly sloped. Pin position dramatically affected the strategy of the approach shots in 2016. In total, the 11th boasts 14 bunkers (tied for most on the course) and two doglegs as its protection.

Ryder Cup #12

Hole 12Hole 12 at Hazeltine.

Widely regarded by the membership as one of the most challenging holes on the course (and the #2 handicap hole) the twelfth is the longest par 4. Playing at 518 yards, it is sandwiched between a 600+ yard par 5 and a par 3 that plays almost 250 yards. This stretch of the course is not only physically demanding, but requires a strong mental game.

The 12th is a dogleg right. In 2016, the ideal tee shot was left center of the fairway leaving an uphill approach shot that was roughly 200-ish yards in for several players. The green is elevated and guarded both front right and front left with bunkers.

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

The 2009 PGA Championship was one of the longest in PGA Championship history. Most notably, the par four 12th hole recorded a record length of 518 yards. The 12th hole was ranked the hardest hold for the week with a scoring average of 4.5 strokes.

Ryder Cup #13

Hole 13Hole 13 at Hazeltine.

Back to the typical routing, the 13th is the longest par 3 on the course at 248 yards from the championship tees!

The tee box is surrounded by large mature trees however, soon after the ball leaves the tee box it is open to the elements. The back left pin placement is the most challenging setup to score on this hole. The 6' deep front left bunker is situated just in front of the left water hazard. Players that put too much draw on their shot found themselves hoping to find the bunker. Similarly, too much fade placed many players in the right bunkers, bringing the right trees into play.

Matt Kuchar was able to negotiate a 50-foot putt for birdie at the 13th to go up 2 in his afternoon four-ball match during the 2016 Ryder Cup that had fans of team USA chanting with joy!

Ryder Cup #14

Hole 5Hole 5 at Hazeltine.

The 14th is a Hazeltine classic! Listed at 448 yards this par 4 dogleg right is a magnificent golf hole. From the moment you make your club selection on the tee, you are bringing in several different possibilities.

The aggressive play is a high cut with a driver that starts just over the right fairway bunkers. This shot has to be played with exact precision to leave you with an approach shot inside 100 yards. If the drive ends up straight or left, the thick rough or even out-of-bounds is in play. If it slides too far right the mature trees will block out any pathway to the green. Even if you hit a flawless drive you may have a downhill or sidehill lie in the fairway for your approach.

A conservative 3 wood or long iron off the tee short and left will leave a clear and level lie shot into the green. This shot however is one of the most challenging approaches on the golf course. It is likely close to 170 yards out to a very narrow green that is only a few paces wide at the opening and guarded on both sides with deep large bunkers.

Ryder Cup #15

Hole 6Hole 6 at Hazeltine.

The 15th can provide a broad variety of experiences. Officially listed at 405 yards, course setup could bring this hole down to a potentially drivable par 4 if the forward tees were in use.

With water front and left of the green, it would require a very precise driver but again risk/reward can be in play here. We saw everything from a 5 iron to driver off the tee throughout the week.

Members gave guests the tip of aiming for the "V tree." A shot that lands on that line will hit a fairway that slopes downhill and toward the green and water starting approximately 150 yards from the green.

The 15th has remained essentially unchanged from its original design. In the traditional routing, this hole plays as #6.

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

The back side of this green was the site of a temporary starter shack when the course opened for play in 1962 as the original clubhouse had not yet been completed.

Ryder Cup #16

Hole 7Hole 7 at Hazeltine.

The 16th was certainly center stage for the Ryder Cup in 2016. The hole is a stadium-like setting that is set as a dogleg right.

A reachable par 5, the 16th plays 572 yards. A fabulous match play hole, it requires a precise and long drive to afford the opportunity to reach the green in two. Many matches required this risk/reward decision and exceptional execution rewarded players in several pivotal moments.

During the 2016 Ryder Cup, Rory McIlory punctuated his team's Friday four-ball match with a beautiful display of shots on #16. He started by nuking his drive 346 yards. That left him in the middle of the fairway and he followed with a towering draw and well-executed club twirl that left him about 18 feet above the hole. He closed out the match by sinking the eagle putt and striking fear into the Americans on day 1 of this event. 

Ryder Cup #17

Hole 8Hole 8 at Hazeltine.

The 17th was certain to play a big part in the 2016 matches. It is one of the shortest holes playing just 176 yards, but presented significant opportunity for challenge with a green that is guarded by water short and right, with three bunkers on the left.

Another memorable moment for Team Europe fans took place on this hole as Rafa Cabrera-Bello drained a 15-foot birdie to square the match going into 18. The team of RCB and Sergio Garcia trailed 4-down with six holes to play, but stormed back and stole a half-point due to heroics on the 17th green. Many Americans remember Jordan Spieth's 30-foot birdie putt burning the edge moments before RCB sunk his birdie attempt.

Historic Hazeltine Fun Fact

Hole 8 at Hazeltine National is famous for its Sunday severity in past Major Championships than it is for its ease. In both the 2002 and the 2009 PGA Championships it effectively took contenders out of the championship.

In 2002 Justin Leonard started Sunday with the lead but after his double bogey here, the championship became a two-horse race to the finish with Rich Beem edging out Tiger Woods.

And, in 2009, the defending champion, Padrig Harrington stepped to the 8th tee just one shot back, however, his score of 8 left the tournament again to a two-man fight to the finish where Y.E. Yang was able to hold off Tiger Woods as well.

Ryder Cup #18

Hole 9Hole 9 at Hazeltine.

The 18th at the Ryder Cup was an uphill 432-yard par 4 that finished with an elevated green guarded by bunkers on both sides. This hole can be particularly challenging with winds from the NW.

Many of the matches didn't make it to Hole 18 at the Ryder Cup, which isn't unique to 2016 of course. However, we were able to witness a few moments that we will carry with us for a long, long time. 

For example, Phil Mickelson buried a birdie putt on 18 during his singles match against Sergio Garcia and followed it with an incredible feat of athleticism as he leaped off the ground — showing off his impressive vertical. Phil went on to later say he believed he got somewhere between 4 and 6 inches off the ground. Of course, many remember that Garcia matched Lefty's birdie and the two halved their historic battle. All together, they marked 19 birdies on the card for what could have been a combined score of 58 (15-under) had they been paired as a team. One for the record books!

And, lastly, who can forget Ryan Moore's two-putt on 18 to beat Lee Westwood and secure the victory for Team USA. Moore, for those who remember, was the final captain's pick by Davis Love III just a week before the event. 

On behalf of Hazeltine National and our members, we can't wait for another unforgettable event in 2029 as we bring another Ryder Cup to our grounds and the state of Minnesota. 

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Hazeltine National Golf Club is a private golf club located in Chaska, Minn., about 30 minutes southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The club opened in 1962 with a mission to build and maintain a golf course suitable for the conduct of national championships. Hazeltine is one of only two courses in the United States to have hosted the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, and Ryder Cup. Hazeltine’s meeting and event space, golf shop and specified services in the learning center are open to the public. More information about becoming a member at Hazeltine is available at www.hazeltinenational.com.

Topics: Championships