Did Things Go Too Far At The Phoenix Open?

The Phoenix Open certainly offers something different but was it too much?

16th TPC Scottsdale
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The WM Phoenix Open is a week like no other with the very obvious attraction at the 16th hole, a short par 3 surrounded entirely by grandstands, 20,000 punters and enormous quantities of alcohol. On Saturday Sam Ryder knocked in a short iron at the 124-yarder and there was absolute bedlam as beer bottles and drinks very quickly filled the green. It was the first hole-in-one since Francesco Molinari in 2015 and just the 10th at the hole.

A day later Carlos Ortiz followed Ryder in before making an eagle two at the next. Shortly after Harry Higgs stripped off after making his par putt to be followed by playing partner Joel Dahmen.

We asked our online community whether they were fans or not of a very different offering?

No, we love it

It’s once a year and while it was unfair on Brian Harman (who had to wait 10 minutes after Ryder’s ace), how often is there an ace there and how often would one player get affected in the whole of their career if they played in it every year? 

If there was no 16th crowds would be right down so an instant loss of cash there. Sponsors wouldn't be lining up to be associated with the 16th so more revenue gone and hospitality wouldn't be there so even more money (and jobs) gone.

Clearly the players are prepared to put up with the fans or they simply wouldn't play in the event. If you don't like the behaviour then ignore the event. At the end of the day is it that far removed from the behaviour at some Ryder Cups? HomerJSimpson 

Great fun, wouldn’t want it every week but it certainly spices things up. Great bit of spin on that one (from Ryder)! 

Generally I’ll watch the majors, a few ‘big’ events (such as this, the Players etc) and that’s it. As something a bit different once a year, why not? timd77

Sheer unbridled joy, utterly great to watch (unless you’re worried about the damage a few beer cans will do and a little bit of clearing up). fundy

The WM tournament is a funny one for me. I normally can't stand the loud brashness of American crowds - the ridiculous attempt so many make to be the first and loudest to shout "Get in the hole" after each shot really does my head in! However, I love this tournament! I love how different it is from the norm! phillarrow

How on earth would you manage to compose yourself for the next two holes after that?! Unbelievable scenes! HeftyHacker

They know the score when they sign up to play the event. Brooks did say it was nice to feel like he was playing a proper sport for a change! BiMGuy

I do love how the entire sporting community has again focused on our game for one 'moment'. It's rare we have them, but when they happen, they're up there with the best. Sand Trapped

It's one of my favourite weeks of the year. I know the purists get snooty about Phoenix but for a once a year event I think it's a blast. Pictures of the beer going in the air and then the cans thrown down from the stands (after the hole-in-one) was completely bonkers. Great fun.

They are in the entertainment industry and that was gold. The money they get at that tournament, substantial, comes in part from the theatre of that hole and the attention it brings. 

The beer cans were on one green, THE green, after a hole in one. It was the talk of the round, everyone would have loved it. It doesn't happen elsewhere on the course, just there.

The sponsors are a waste management company. Loads of staff came on, cleared the green as though nothing had happened. Great advert for them.

If it's too much for you, give it a miss. There will be another regular comp coming along next week. Lord Tyrion

I’m a tight Yorkshireman but I’ll tell you what, if I was there and witnessed an ace my beer would be on the green. Beezerk

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Yes, it’s not for me

So, as much fun as it is, is it really fair on Brian Harman that he should have to wait? After all, even though the fans are loving it, these guys are playing for money and world ranking points. It’s a tricky balance. Imurg

I’ve no issue with the fans having fun, but seems like it’s encouraging excess, binge drinking to me. Yes it is a one off but maybe we should have more events when the fans get a chance to hit the players with beer cans. Why not open it up to other sports? Like a coconut shy but with real sports people? Leftitshort

Greens and tee covered in beer cans - in what way is that any good for any sport? The stands have an appeal but by the end of it you have a crowd smashed who think they can act how ever they like. It’s gone too far there now. They are in the sports business, it’s about winning in what is the best way for them , it’s not about entertaining 20,000 drunk idiots throwing all sorts onto the course

And the money wouldn’t be any less if the stands weren’t there. What’s entertaining about greens covered in beer cans ?

It’s pandering to a drunken mob. Do you really enjoy seeing a drunk crowd throwing stuff onto the golf course?

Do you think that’s acceptable within any sport? What we see at that place is pathetic and juvenile and panders to the low level idiots. A stadium atmosphere is good, loud at the appropriate timebut that was just a drunk mob that went too far. It won’t take much more for someone to have drunk too much and bottles start to go. Liverpoolphil

I've no real problem with the hollering, the beer, the ooohs and ahhhhs. It's once a year, the world isn't going to end. It is fun and the players join in, the caddies even race to the green. It’s just the crap being thrown onto the "field of play" - not necessary. Imurg

Entertainment fine. Disruption to the next person’s shot, not really. IanM

Maybe I'm too old but it's not my idea of entertainment and I can only see it getting worse and spilling over into other competitions, perhaps not as OTT as this but people see and copy. Crow

I bet the 16th hole bar owners love it when there’s a hole-inone. No way I’d be chucking my beer and then having to queue up. I’ve been invited to play in a pro-am at TPC Scottsdale next year (which is the week after this event) it includes us going to watch this event on the Saturday… half of me wants to go and experience it, the other half isn’t sure he wants to be stuck in amongst all the whoopin & hollerin. Thankfully there’s no crowds on 16 when we would be playing it, although the stands are still up. Boomy

It's not for me. If that happens at a football match is yahoos, thugs and get the police. At the 16th it's growing the game.

I'd prefer it if the game didn't grow in that direction. Golfnut1957

The 16th at TPC Scottsdale has a heritage all of its own..! But I agree about throwing beer cans, that's not good. Whydowedoit

Mark Townsend
Mark Townsend

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.