Home » Alcohol sales halted, fans shut out at ‘epic’ golf tournament

Alcohol sales halted, fans shut out at ‘epic’ golf tournament

Even the famously no-holds-barred Phoenix Open has a limit on how much debauchery is allowed on a golf course, with spectators turned away and alcohol sales temporarily halted amid the wild party scenes in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The tournament, which is held at TPC Scottsdale, stopped allowing fans onto the premises around 2pm on Saturday afternoon (local time) because it was too crowded, while also putting a hold on drinks available to fans in an attempt to slow the party.

It’s the first time the Phoenix Open has had to — at least briefly — turn away ticket holders, with huge crowds turning up in their thousands despite less-than-ideal weather conditions, including rain and low temperatures.

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“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.”

On the course itself, Nick Taylor had a one-shot lead at 13 under with 12 holes left in his third round when play was suspended due to darkness at the waterlogged event.

“It was pretty epic,” said a grinning Sahith Theegala, who was a stroke back.

“There were a bunch of guys with my name and face on their shirts. An officer was telling me people got too drunk, but it was all in good fun. Hopefully everyone stayed safe. It’s a blast, even if some people aren’t the best drunks.”

Taylor continued to ride his fast start after matching the course record with an 11-under 60 to finish his first round Friday, but the Canadian completed just six holes Saturday, with one birdie and five pars.

Theegala used five birdies on the back nine of the second round early Saturday to shoot a 64 and take a one-shot lead into the third. He bogeyed his first two holes of the third, but made a birdie on No. 4 to pull within a stroke.

The 35-year-old Taylor is going for his fourth PGA Tour victory. The former University of Washington star lives in the area. He won the Canadian Open last year in a playoff, which was also a raucous atmosphere, though nothing’s quite like TPC Scottsdale.

“Tried to stay warm, get loose,” Taylor said.

“It was a pretty good six holes, even if it was cold and windy.”

Doug Ghim and Andrew Novak were 11 under, with Jordan Spieth and Cameron Young at 10 under par, while Scottie Scheffler — eyeing his third straight Phoenix Open win — was five shots back at 8 under.

The Phoenix Open, dubbed the “Greatest Show on Grass,” is unlike anything in golf. Masses of up to 200,000 fans pack TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course with cheers, boos and the occasional beer shower.

The eye of the rowdy hurricane is the 16th hole, a multi-tiered frat party of a par-3 where “Quiet please” signs are met with ample disdain.