Crowded Phoenix Open shuts gates, limits alcohol


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Even the famously no-holds-barred Phoenix Open has a limit on how much debauchery is allowed on a golf course.

The tournament at TPC Scottsdale stopped allowing fans onto the premises around 2 p.m. Saturday because it was too crowded. It also briefly stopped alcohol sales at several locations around the course, hoping to slow down the party.

It’s the first time the Phoenix Open has had to, at least briefly, turn away ticket holders.

The huge crowds came to Scottsdale despite less than ideal weather conditions. It was raining and in the 40s for most of the morning before the sun peeked through the clouds and temperatures rose to the 50s.

“Due to larger than usual crowds, the WM Phoenix Open entrance gates are temporarily closed and shuttle service to the event is on hold,” the tournament said on social media. “Shuttle service back to parking lots will remain running. Regularly check our channels for updates.”

Jordan Spieth told reporters the overflow crowds affected his return to the course for his third-round afternoon tee time.

When I went home and when I came back, I couldn’t come the same direction,” Spieth said, according to SI.com. “The police officers had blocked it off, so I drove up and I said, ‘How am I supposed to get back to the course?’ He said, ‘We’re over capacity. It’s hazardous, so we’ve got to go through a different [entrance].’

“Once he said that, I thought maybe we were in a little bit of trouble this afternoon, but we were on the front nine so it was a little less rowdy, and I heard they stopped alcohol sales.”

The Phoenix Open, dubbed “Greatest Show on Grass,” is unlike anything in golf. Masses of up to 200,000 fans pack TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course with cheers, boos and the occasional beer shower.

The eye of the rowdy hurricane is the 16th hole, a multitiered party of a par-3 where “Quiet please” signs are met with ample disdain.

On Friday, a woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries after falling at the 16th. It was unknown if the woman had been drinking before the incident.

Spieth expects more big crowds to come Sunday, with many players still needing to finish their third rounds before beginning their final 18.

“Saturday is normally the big day, but I think with 27 holes tomorrow, we might see some more people come out than usual on Sunday anyway,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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