The wildest tournament on the golf calendar descended into drunken mayhem as fans let loose as the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday (AEDT).
As golf tries to become a more exciting spectator sport, the par-3 16th hole at the Phoenix Open has become a ‘party hole’, with grandstands surrounding the green filled with fans desperate to see a hole-in-one.
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But the silliness turned into chaos during the third round when the rogue antics of fans prompted organisers to stop selling alcohol and temporarily stop letting punters through the gates.
One spectator ran onto the course and forward rolled into the bunker, even doing a few snow angels for his troubles.
Other unruly patrons had to be restrained by security, while the effect of too much booze was on for show as fans tried to entertain themselves.
Countless videos have emerged of people drunkenly stumbling over, while others were egged on to slide down muddy hills. The drunken antics make for pretty grim viewing.
In another video, a man appears to be urinating while fully clothed and sitting on a stool.
On Saturday (AEDT), a woman was hospitalised with non-lifethreatening injuries after falling from the grandstands on the 16th hole.
“Today at the WM Phoenix Open, a fan sustained non-life-threatening injuries after a fall at the 16th hole,” tournament organisers said in a statement.
“Scottsdale fire and bike team paramedics reacted quickly at the scene to give the injured fan immediate medical attention and then provided safe transport to a local medical centre for further evaluation.”
Chants of “we want beer” went up as the crowd grew antsy in the break between the end of the second round and the start of the third round.
Canadian Nick Taylor held a one-stroke lead over American Sahith Theegala when darkness halted play in the third round of the weather-disrupted Phoenix Open on Sunday (AEDT).
The pair had completed six holes of the third round at TPC Scottsdale after getting through their second rounds earlier in the day.
Doug Ghim and Andrew Novak were both two shots off the lead while three-times major winner Jordan Spieth reached the turn at two-under for his round, moving him three behind Taylor.
The leaders will have 30 holes to get through on Sunday with organisers hoping the risk of frost in the morning does not add any further delays to the schedule.
A 3 1/2-hour rain delay on Thursday put the tournament behind schedule and frost on Friday added to the disruption.
With the partying crowds roaring every great shot or putt but booing and jeering missed putts and off-target approaches on the 16th, the noise at the hole has become synonymous with the Scottsdale event.
“Just hearing the cheers is pretty epic,” said Theegala.
“A bunch of guys with my name and my face on shirts out there. The officer was telling me people got too drunk. But it was all in good fun, and hopefully everyone stayed safe.
“It’s a blast. There’s definitely some people that aren’t the best drunks, but for the most part it’s all positive, and it’s a fun atmosphere.
“You do have to block some of it out at certain times. That’s for sure. But still kind of in full embrace mode.”
The Phoenix Open has a unique atmosphere, with groups of fans following their favourite players around the course and dressing up in costume.
Fans flocked to follow Australian star Min Woo Lee over the opening two days of the PGA event.
Lee’s catch phrase “let him cook” has undoubtedly caught on, with hundreds of his supporters donning red-coloured ‘Let Him Cook’ chef hats.
Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson birdied three of the last six holes to claim victory in the LIV event in Las Vegas.
Johnson, a 24-time winner on the PGA Tour, took his third LIV Golf League triumph.
— With AFP