‘Just shutting up’: WM Phoenix Open crowd upsets pros across the course
For years, the WM Phoenix Open was a bucket list destination for fans and a grin-and-bear-it stop for pros, a place where the sport of ordinary golf turns into a college football gateway for weekend. Everyone knows going in that it’s going to be a loud, chaotic, disorderly party. But this year, it seems that the party has broken out of any kind of limitation, and there are several advantages that do not get it.
Saturday is traditionally the wildest day of the tournament, and this year it was true to form. The tournament banned alcohol sales and closed the gates to new entrants, and a look at the scenes from Saturday will give you a good idea why:
One fan decided to take a peek at the bunker:
That followed Friday in which a fan was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries after falling from a stand.
Performers have gritted their teeth and dealt with the strange crowd as best they can, generally with a combination of good humor and their role.
“It’s a blast. It’s a blast. There are definitely some people who aren’t the best drink, but for the most part it’s all positive, and it’s a fun atmosphere,” said Sahith Theegala Saturday. “You have to block some of it out at certain times. That’s for sure.”
But on Sunday, the crowd seemed to be going up another level, and this time, the calls were going down deep under the skin of the players. Former Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson addressed a crowd on one hole: “I’m just sick of it,” he said, apparently referring to someone crying. “Just shut up.”
Billy Horschel, who had been throwing footballs with fans on the famous 16th hole on Saturday, lost his temper on Sunday as fans went through the motions of partner Nicolo Galletti ( language advice):
Jordan Spieth, who is involved, had his own problems with the gallery, but at least one of his shots was not affected by the chirping:
Amazing streak right now with Spieth on 18.
He left the club immediately after the win and pointed to the crowd at someone who was shouting behind him. The ball ends up pin high, 15 feet away for birdie. Camera cuts back to him saying, “What the f***?” at the gallery. pic.twitter.com/oyfQ2KNsp8
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) February 11, 2024
The WM Phoenix Open remains one of the most popular events on the PGA Tour slate, but the players will likely have a big say in determining how the event will play out going forward.