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February 05, 2011

Mayfair honors fallen hero Pat Tillman

Posted at 7:39 PM by Gary Van Sickle | Categories: Billy Mayfair, Waste Management Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Now on the tee, Number 42. Feb5_mayfair_600x408

Longtime PGA Tour veteran Billy Mayfair wasn't introduced that way when he stepped onto the 16th tee at the TPC Scottsdale Saturday, but he could have been. The 16th is the par 3 surrounded by an amphitheater of stands and known as the loudest party hole in golf. While in the tunnel walkway from the 15th green, Mayfair pulled out an Arizona State University jersey with "42" on the back and a name above it -- Tillman.

It was a reference to former ASU star Pat Tillman, who played in the NFL for several seasons but quit after the 9/11 attacks to join the Army Rangers. He later was killed in combat in Afghanistan at age 27.

"It was just a tribute to Pat," said Mayfair, a fellow ASU alum. "I talked to Linda Vollstedt, the former ASU golf coach, and she thought it was a good idea to wear the jersey and honor him today."

Mayfair hit quite a shot on the hole during his second round. It landed on the green, hit the back of the cup and lipped out. It would've been the second ace there in one day. Jarrod Lyle had earlier holed out to a huge roar.

"I made a birdie, so I guess I should have worn the jersey all day," joked Mayfair.

The vocal crowds around the hole picked up on Mayfair's attire. "At first, they were just cheering ASU, ASU," Mayfair said, "but when they saw Tillman on the back, they started chanting, 'Tillman, Tillman, Tillman.' I think even any University of Arizona people would've been cheering. Pat was a hero, no doubt about it."

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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