Watch: PGA Tour golf event descends into chaos after drunk fans misbehave

Fans drink from a shoe/Fans fighting, gates shut and beer sales stopped as Waste Management Open descends into chaos
Fans on the 16th hole drink from a shoe during the Phoenix Open - USA TODATY/Joe Rondone

Chaos marred the third round of the Waste Management Open in Phoenix as the gates were shut and alcohol sales halted, with viral social-media videos depicting drunkenness, arrests and at least one fight breaking out.

Earlier a woman who fell out of a grandstand on the infamous ‘Stadium Hole’ 16th was taken away in an ambulance, but while it was reported that her injuries were non-life threatening, she was kept in hospital.

Meanwhile, there were other fans detained in police cells amid scenes that will surely shock the game and put the Tour under increased pressure to introduce restrictions to curtail the wildness at future tournaments.

The Tour stop at TPC Scottsdale is easily the best attended event in the sport, but, ironically and perhaps tellingly, has long had the reputation of being the most un-golf like venue on the circuit. But with what was reported to be a crowd exceeding 200,000 on Saturday, the scenario veered from the raucous well out of bounds into the ugly and downright dangerous, with the police and organisers forced to take unprecedented action to quell the madness.

Fans were denied entry by mid-afternoon, despite having tickets. The slopes and banks on the course usually help to accommodate so many but with downpours causing delays in the opening days, the hillsides were not fit for galleries to sit on and were transformed into mudslides. Bare-chested individuals took this description too literally and were pictured using them as luge tracks, as seen in the videos below.

If that was good natured then scenes quickly became unseemly when the shutters were pulled down on the alcohol stalls and the huge galleries on the par-three 16th — where more than 17,500 spectators pack into the wraparound stands — began chanting “we want beer, we want beer”.

As they waited to heckle players — Max Homa revealed that they were loud shouts of “overrated, overrated” in the direction of Ryder Cup team-mate Jordan Spieth — they were treated to the sight of one attendee being arrested after leaping over the ropes and diving into the greenside bunker, where, minus any upper garments, he performed “snow angels” in the sand.

While that provided hilarity on the 124-yarder — nicknamed “The Colosseum’ — the emergency services were struggling to cope, with one local radio reporting that multiple fans had blacked out at the event where last year they sold more than a million beers. Last year, play on the short but intimidating par three was delayed for 15 minutes as officials and volunteers were tasked with clearing up the “multitude” of beer cans and bottles that fans threw on to the green to greet Sam Ryder’s hole-in-one.

Elsewhere on the layout on a “Moving Day” when golf moved ever closer to debauchery, (see video below) the lunacy reached its peak when a fight between spectators broke out with no security present.

The online video featuring punches being thrown and wrestling on the ground will cause a huge headache in Tour HQ and will inevitably only raise fears that next year’s Ryder Cup in New York could become similarly chaotic.

Earlier in the week, Luke Donald, the Europe captain who missed the cut in Phoenix, joked that “this will give me a taste of what it might be like at Bethpage”, although the Englishman could not have foreseen this mess, which was clearly only made worse by the weather.

The Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale draws in thousands of spectators
The Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale draws in thousands of spectators - Getyy Images/Orlando Ramirez
But fan behaviour descended to another level this year
But fan behaviour descended to another level this year - AP/Ross D. Franklin

A post on the tournament’s official social media accounts attempted to explain the huge queues building outside. “Due to larger than usual crowds, the WM Phoenix Open entrance gates are temporarily closed,” it read. As swarms of fans had enough of the disarray and wildness and beat a sharp exit, the turnstiles eventually reopened. But the bars remained closed.

Traditionally, the final round is a lot calmer at “The Wasted Open” and this should apply doubly so this year as it falls on Super Bowl Sunday, taking place in Las Vegas, in the neighbouring state in Nevada. There will be a rush to avoid a Monday finish, with pacesetter Nick Taylor still left with 12 holes to play of his third round. The Canadian is one clear of Sahith Theegala, with Spieth two further back and the likes of world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas a few more shots behind on a congested leaderboard.

Here in Las Vegas, former world No 1 Dustin Johnson celebrated winning £3.2 million at the second LIV Golf event of the season. The two-time major champion denied countrymen Talor Gooch and Peter Uilhein by a shot.