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Phoenix Open to implement changes following incidents at TPC Scottsdale

February 13, 2024
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Christian Petersen

A WM Phoenix Open tournament official is promising that last weekend’s mistakes will not happen again.

Golf’s biggest party went too wild at TPC Scottsdale. There were a number of unpleasant exchanges between players and galleries. There was a viral video of fans fighting. An individual fell from the stands and Saturday’s atmosphere was so out of control that the gates were eventually closed and alcohol sales were cut off. Following their final rounds several players telegraphed the threat of skipping the event if measures weren’t taken by the tournament to get the crowd under control.

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“This tournament has been inappropriate and crossed the line since I’ve been on tour and this is my 21st year,” Zach Johnson told the Arizona Republic on Sunday. “I don’t know what the line is, but you have people falling out of the rafters, you have fights in the stands. … It’s to the point where now, how do you reel it in? Because it’s taken on a life of its own. I think [tournament organizers] probably need to do something about it. I’m assuming they’re ashamed. Because at some point, somebody’s either gonna really, really get hurt or worse.”

Attempting to do damage control, Chance Cozby, the executive director of the organization that runs the WMPO, went on the Golf Channel on Monday and said the tournament will fix the issues that troubled this year’s event.

"Saturday at WM Phoenix Open in 2024 is going to end up being a turning point for our tournament and our organization to make our event better,” Cozby told Golf Channel's “Golf Today.” "I think that you will see a complete operational change of how we manage, really, our Friday and Saturday, but the entire week. We're very proud of what we've built. I think, we've been tournament of the year on the PGA Tour five of the last seven years. But we don't like what happened on Saturday. The players don't like what happened on Saturday. Our fans don't like what happened on Saturday, and, so, nothing is off the table."

Crosby attributed some of the disruption to weather issues. The tournament faced multiple delays and the property was soaked throughout the week, creating multiple logistical issues for the largest attended event in golf. It created such a backlog that people with tickets were turned away from the gates.

"The fine line was really when we felt like we were just at a point on Saturday where our fans could not move around the golf course," Cozby said. "And at that moment, the right thing to do was to take the steps that we did."

As for what steps the WMPO will take, Cozby said the priority will be on the tournament’s security plan and ticket sales.

The Phoenix Open traces its roots back to the 1930s and has been played at TPC Scottsdale since 1987. Nick Taylor won this year’s event with a birdie on the second playoff hole against Charley Hoffman.