PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan admits the culture of beer cans and bottles raining down on the famous stadium hole 16th at TPC Scottsdale got out of hand at this year’s WM Phoenix Open.
The Arizona event has become known as the most raucous on tour, attracting golfers and non-golfers alike with over 700,000 spectators through the gates, and most of them hell-bent on pulling up a stump on the noisy par-3 16th for the day.
The fans have been making it rain ever since Tiger Woods nailed a hole-in-one at the short obstacle all the way back in 1997 but many believed this year’s celebration crossed the line, with Monahan confirming that Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz “was nailed pretty hard with a beer can” as reward for his hole-in-one.
Sam Ryder was the first to land an ace at this year’s tournament, sending the spectators into a frenzy, but whatever about the excitement of hole-in-ones inducing this reaction, similar scenes followed Harry Higgs and Joel Dahmen taking their shirts off, and Justin Thomas chipping in for birdie, prompting Monahan to address the issue ahead of next year’s renewal.
“At the Phoenix Open we’ve created an atmosphere that is unmatched and unparalleled in our sport,” he told the BB.
“When you go back to that week, we hadn’t had a hole-in-one on 16 since 2015. Also it was in a period when people are coming out of their homes and experiencing sporting events at venues the way they used to after not being able to do so for so long. The reaction you saw was the stunning nature of a hole-in-one on that hole.
“But it’s never acceptable to be throwing water and beer bottles – we saw it a few times that weekend – and it’s going to be addressed.”
Specifically addressing the Higgs and Dahmen defrocking, the pair jubilantly celebrating pars much to the delight of the fans, Monahan added:
“Harry and Joel did get carried away but it’s the atmosphere we’ve created.
“We’ve got to recognise that’s something we helped to build and when you get situations that need to be addressed, they get addressed.”