Around the Bluhmin’ Town
Booze. Fights. Arrests. A music festival like Coachella? Perhaps a rap concert? Nope. The Greatest Show on Grass seems to outdo itself each year. This year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open was a “show” like none other. Pack a few hundred thousand folks together (mostly concentrated around the 16thhole), add torrential rain and mud, plenty of alcohol and a raucous party atmosphere and watch the chaos ensue. Oh, and while there was some pretty good golf, the frat party atmosphere is what stole the headlines.
Have the organizers and “good times vibe” gone a bit too far this year? Or is this par for the course? Well, there were several arrests, drunk guys peeing on the fairways, one dude who went viral was seen mud-sliding down the greens and was finally arrested. Ticketholders weren’t allowed in at one point, and alcohol sales were stopped. Because people were staggering, being carried out of the stands, and several fights broke out. Oh yeah, and this is golf.
Some say this is the end of civilization, as we know it. Some of the PGA players fought back by cussing at the crowds to “shut up.” A few players said they were “sick of it.” Yikes, even BMW Championship winner Byeong Hun An took to social media to call the entire event a “s*** show” which was “totally out of control on every hole.” He went on to lament that, “I have played here many times and it was always fine, until today.”
Aww, the legendary Beer Snake was back in full glory. This is one of the more recent traditions at the 16th hole, when fans in the grandstands create the beer snake. The beer cups at the Phoenix Open are green and recyclable. It takes about 20 empty cups per foot to make the beer snake, which was an impressive green “snake” held up by enthusiastic fans that curved around the stands for hundreds of feet.
Well, approximately two million beers are sold during this entire event. And Tournament officials seem to be supportive of the Beer Snake, since a can koozie sold at the Fan Shop has a “Make the Snake” slogan on it. Seriously, this is better than the hundreds of beer cans that got thrown onto the Par-3 hole in 2022 when Sam Ryder made a hole-in-one. Exuberance (and safety concerns) led to the Beer Snake?
Does age dictate whether you find the shenanigans at the Phoenix Open a good time or a chaotic mess? Possibly. My physician (in his early sixties) attended and thought the entire event was boorish and out-of-control. My colleague attended (he is in his thirties) and found it to be “a blast.”
Concerts, music festivals and sporting events are a snapshot of human behavior. Sometimes rowdy, perhaps even wild, they are fun to watch and usually thrilling to attend. Is enthusiasm contagious? Evidently. Sometimes the crowd’s actions overshadow the athletes. Yes, there was great golf and a winner at the Phoenix Open - Canadian Nick Taylor. He was spectacular. It was surreal. Almost as if it happened in a strange golf course par, par away.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or visit www.aroundthebluhmintown.com.