Nick Taylor claimed play-off victory at the WM Phoenix Open; eventful week at TPC Scottsdale saw excess crowds turned away and alcohol sales temporarily halted to try and limit fan incidents; watch the PGA Tour throughout the week live on Sky Sports
Monday 12 February 2024 13:46, UK
The WM Phoenix Open has always offered an atmosphere unlike any other on the PGA Tour schedule, although this year’s contest will likely be remembered more for incidents outside the ropes.
Nick Taylor produced a brilliant finish to claim his fourth PGA Tour title, birdieing three of his final four holes to finish alongside Charley Hoffman on 21 under before birdieing both extra holes to beat the American in the play-off, in a week where fan behaviour often overshadowed the golf itself.
Social media videos over the event revealed the full extent of the chaos, as alcohol-fuelled incidents included spectators fighting, urinating in public, sliding topless down a muddy hill and even arrested for creating snow angels in one of the course's bunkers.
TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course can attract up to 200,000 fans a day and its iconic par-three 16th hole is dubbed the "loudest hole in golf", with cheers, boos and even beer showers greeting golfers through the years, but this year's contest left players involved in heated exchanges with spectators.
Beaten American Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson was filmed remonstrating with fans at TPC Scottsdale and could be heard telling them "I'm sick of it" before demanding they "just shut up".
In a separate incident, Billy Horschel was seen shouting at a spectator for calling out while one of his playing partners, qualifier Nicolo Galletti, was about to hit a shot.
"Buddy, when he's over a shot shut the hell up man," Horschel said. "He's trying to hit a damn golf shot here - it's our f****** job."
Three-time major champion Jordan Spieth could be seen mouthing the words 'what the f***' after rowdy crowds made noise on his backswing during one hole, while former BMW PGA Championship winner Byeong Hun An described the event a "s*** show" which was "totally out of control on every hole".
He added: "Played here multiple times over the years and it was fine until today."
Fans queue for hours ahead of gates opening before running to get their vantage spot secure on the Stadium Hole, where one spectator was hospitalised after falling from one of the stands.
Tournament officials were forced to shut spectator gates earlier than planned during Saturday's action after being overwhelmed by the turnout, leaving some paying spectators unable to get in.
"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."
There was also the unprecedented move of temporary halting alcohol sales due to the number of fan incidents, leading to chants of "we want beer" from those in the stands at the Stadium Hole.
"The officer was telling me people got too drunk," Sahith Theegala said. "It's a blast. There's definitely some people that aren't the best drunks, but for the most part it's all positive."
The "Greenest Show on Grass" will be back again in 2025 and will continue to generate huge crowds, although tournament organisers will want the golf itself to return to the subject dominating headlines.
Watch the PGA Tour throughout the season live on Sky Sports. The Genesis Invitational is live from Thursday at 3.30pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and more on NOW
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