Golf: Organizers say they'll make changes after chaotic Phoenix Open

Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Organizers for the Phoenix Open plan to make major changes before next year's competition after the 2024 golf tournament was marred by overcrowding and incidents between golfers and fans.

"We're very proud of what we've built," Chance Cozby, the executive director of the Thunderbirds, a host organization for the tournament, told Golf Channel on Monday.


"I think, we've been tournament of the year on the PGA Tour five of the last seven years. But we don't like what happened on Saturday. The players don't like what happened on Saturday. Our fans don't like what happened on Saturday, and, so, nothing is off the table."

Cozby called Saturday "a turning point" for the tournament.

The 2024 Phoenix Open teed off Thursday at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Ariz. Rain throughout the week and weekend dampened the Stadium Course grounds, making the area muddy and slippery. That forced foot traffic onto concrete paths, creating congestions for the crowds.

Scottsdale Police told Fox 10 Phoenix that more than 50 people were arrested and 200 were ejected from the tournament.

Organizers halted admission, closed concession stands and stopped alcohol sales Saturday. Several fans were caught on video involved in heated exchanges with golfers Billy Horschel and Zach Johnson.


Additional footage showed obviously intoxicated fans struggling to stand straight, shirtless and even jumping into a bunker to make sand angels.

Johnson later told the AZ Central that he didn't know if he would return next year. He also said the tournament has been "inappropriate and crossed the line since" he has been on the PGA Tour.

"At some point -- I don't know what the line is, but you have people falling out of the rafters, you have fights in the stands," Johnson said. "It's to the point where now, how do you reel it in? Because it's taken on a life of it's own.

"I think the Thunderbirds probably need to do something about it. I'm assuming they're ashamed."

Nick Taylor edged Charley Hoffman in a playoff to win the tournament.

The PGA Tour schedule will continue with the Genesis Invitational. That Tiger Woods-hosted tournament will be Thursday through Sunday in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

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