The Phoenix Open stands out as a marquee event on the PGA Tour calendar, renowned not only for its top-tier golf but also for the festive atmosphere it cultivates. However, in a departure from tradition, temporary measures were enforced due to overwhelming crowds at TPC Scottsdale on Saturday, marking a first in the tournament’s history.
Around 2 p.m. local time, organizers found themselves compelled to close the entry gates and halt the influx of spectators onto the course, citing safety concerns amidst the surging crowds. Alcohol sales were momentarily suspended at various locations, reportedly due to instances of rowdy behavior among attendees, as reported by ESPN.
In an official statement released on X, the tournament acknowledged the exceptional circumstances, stating, “Due to larger than usual crowds, the WM Phoenix Open entrance gates are temporarily closed, and shuttle service to the event is on hold.”
However, they reassured attendees that shuttle services back to the parking lots would continue uninterrupted, urging them to stay updated via official channels for further announcements.
New angle. Same energy. pic.twitter.com/LIM3ebCI3k
— WM Phoenix Open (@WMPhoenixOpen) February 10, 2024
Affectionately dubbed the “Greatest Show on Grass,” the Phoenix Open has consistently drawn hundreds of thousands of fans annually, who converge primarily around the iconic 16th hole.
This hotspot features a sprawling 20,000-seat grandstand, where enthusiastic crowds engage in a raucous display of cheers, jeers, and the occasional “beer shower.”
Phoenix Open Hole 16 Beer Snake.
Tradition’s never stop! pic.twitter.com/2rFN3OvTZ9
— Mr. Az (@MrAzSports) February 9, 2024
The decision to impose restrictions follows an incident on Friday where a woman fell from the grandstand, sustaining non-life-threatening injuries requiring hospitalization.
Since 2019, the Phoenix Open has ceased disclosing daily attendance figures, though the 2018 edition remains the largest on record, boasting a total attendance of 719,179 individuals.
Hour and a half between the ending of the 2nd round and start of the 3rd round leaves not much to do other than drink at the #wmpo… things are getting wild 😂 #wastemanagement #pga #WMPhoenixOpen pic.twitter.com/TiiMnHNyYX
— Josh Wamsley (@BonafideWamz) February 10, 2024
Notably, the Saturday round of the 2018 tournament set the record for the largest single-day crowd, with 216,818 spectators in attendance.
As of Saturday’s third round, Nick Taylor and Andrew Novak held the top spots on the leaderboard, both at 12-under. However, fierce competition loomed with contenders like Sahith Theegala, Scottie Scheffler, and Jordan Spieth vying for the coveted title.
With an overall purse of $8 million at TPC Scottsdale, the eventual winner stands to claim a substantial $1.6 million prize, further intensifying the stakes of this prestigious event.