'Totally Out Of Control' - PGA Tour Pro Shares Thoughts On WM Phoenix Open Scenes

Ben An posted a series of messages on X about what occurred during his rounds at TPC Scottsdale

Fans at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open put together a beer snake
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The boisterous nature of the WM Phoenix Open is like nothing seen anywhere else across the PGA Tour. The sheer number of fans, the passion for the sport, the amount of booze consumed, there is simply no other event quite like the one held at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.

Many people turn up in costumes that relate to their favorite player or something completely random, and others simply like to enjoy a beer or three in their civilian clothes while watching some of the world's best duke it out in Arizona. Whatever you wear, the message seems to be 'make as much noise as humanly possible at all times.' And that is an accepted part of the tournament in most quarters.

However, according to one player - Byeong Hun An, A.K.A Ben An - some of the patrons' behaviour throughout the Stadium Course has been a "s***show" and "totally out of control on every hole" in 2024.

From the moment hundreds - if not thousands - of fans ran towards the par-3 Stadium Hole on Thursday morning, a stormy combination of excess levels of alcohol and bad weather has created a dark cloud of trouble for the PGA Tour and a handful of its members.

On Saturday, the entrance gates were temporarily closed and all alcohol sales were suspended in a bid to maintain safety levels for those already on the Scottsdale property. It was the first time the event has ever made such a decision.

See more

And while the overwhelming majority of people outside of the ropes have been respectful and enjoyed a great time, An believes the party atmosphere has gone too far in certain places.

There have been reports of fighting among fans, while one person fell from the stands at the par-3 16th. Though, their injuries were said to be non-life-threatening.

On the course, heading into Sunday, some players still need to play over 30 holes if the event is to finish without the need for its reserve day on Monday. An - who is among the back markers in the group that made the weekend - only has three holes to go of his third round, starting with the rowdy par-3 16th.

See more

Between Saturday and Sunday's action, An responded to Golf.com's Claire Rogers' question "What does everyone think of today at the WM Phoenix Open?" by saying: "S***shows. Totally out of control on every hole."

After one fan asked if the behaviour from fans had been worse than normal this year, An replied: "I think so. I didn't have to deal with it until the last few holes. Almost every other hole today."

See more

The South Korean was four-under for the tournament heading into the third round before a sudden slip backwards on Saturday left him one-over and in T70th with three holes to go. 

While not laying all of the blame for his six bogeys on external factors, An later clarified that it was not the noise itself that was distracting, but rather off-putting comments in his back swing and sudden noises from intoxicated patrons that he found frustrating.

An replied to one fan who pondered if a load of constant noise would prove less distracting, saying: "Exactly. 16th hole is always loud so it works but other holes, 97% of the people are quite and 3% says some dumb stuff. It’s weird to hear stuff that I don't normally hear in other events."

See more

While An was disappointed at the actions of some fans, fellow pro Michael Kim was upset with himself after a bad finish to round two saw his week cut short. Also responding to Rogers' message on X, Kim said: "Not great" before later expanding with "It’s cuz I played bad and missed the cut. Woke up at 5am to play two holes and played them +1. Wasn’t great."

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff Writer, joining Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and has since spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. The self-proclaimed ‘worst golfer in the office’ still enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.