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Chaos as drunk fans misbehave at Phoenix Open

Chaos marred the third round of the Waste Management Open in Phoenix as the gates were shut and alcohol sales halted with social media videos going viral of 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.

Hillsides at the rain-hit Phoenix Open were transformed into mudslides – a description taken literally by some fans.

Hillsides at the rain-hit Phoenix Open were transformed into mudslides – a description taken literally by some fans.Credit:

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

The tour’s 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 (Sunday AEDT), the scenario veered from the raucous well out of bounds into the ugly and downright dangerous, with 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 the crowds 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 literally and used them as luge tracks.

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 there were loud shouts of “overrated, overrated” in the direction of Ryder Cup teammate Jordan Spieth. One attendee was arrested after leaping over the ropes, diving into the greenside bunker and performing “snow angels” in the sand while bare chested.

That created hilarity on the 124-yarder – nicknamed “The Colosseum” – but the emergency services were struggling to cope, with one local radio reporting that multiple fans had blacked out at the event, which last year 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 cleared up the “multitude” of beer cans and bottles that fans threw on the green to greet Sam Ryder’s hole in one.

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