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fans at phoenix open

No one else to blame! This is why golf deserves the ‘foul’ WM Phoenix Open…

NCG’s Tom Irwin didn’t like what he saw at the WM Phoenix Open and believes golf’s desire to copy other sports is cause of this chaos…

 

When I go watch football, I sometimes drink too much and I always shout, often in support, but more often in criticism. I sometimes even swear. My fellow fans are the same. Some are even worse behaved.

To keep us in check, fences, barriers and armies of stewards and police are employed to hold us at bay. When we drink, it is restricted and we are airport-style searched on the way in.

Football fans cannot be trusted. We are an awful breed but we love the visceral, tribal, edgy nature of it all. It makes travelling hundreds of miles and spending thousands of pounds to follow a bunch of overpaid cretins serve up a load of dross that a team of under 8s – anyway, I digress.

I also watch golf. I stay quiet when a player is hitting a shot. I clap politely at a good shot. I stay respectfully silent at a bad one.

I keep my distance and move at the right times and within the confines of the ropes. When I play, it is much the same. I adhere to the dress code and (mostly) follow the rules. I chat to my opponent. I praise their good shots, all the while trying to beat them.

fans at phoenix open

ALSO: Overcrowding caused the gates to shut at Phoenix Open

My football self would not recognise my golf self, which is what makes the goings-on at the WM Phoenix Open all the more irritating. Golf needs to realise that its differences are what makes it appealing.

Yet we court this behaviour. It is like that internet meme where a boyfriend is checking out another girl whilst walking with his partner. Golf looks at other more immediate, more ‘exciting’, more tribal sports and it thinks, ‘We want a piece of that, that will generate fans for us’.

That is why we ended up with party holes. The obsession with ‘team’ formats, and all the twee matching outfits that go with it. It is why we end up with thunderclaps and the insufferable guardians of the Ryder Cup. And it is now why we end up with drunken fans breaking all of the social codes that live golf requires to exist.

At a live golf event, played on a field over hundreds of acres, you cannot police every corner. You are reliant on people not behaving like idiots to protect the spectacle and more importantly player safety. That social code is threatened forever by this weekend.

fans at phoenix open

And this is all brought about because as a sport, we are so uncomfortable in our own skin that it is pathetic. Golf has a ton of qualities. Watching and playing has loads to offer its fans and participants.

It is about patience, temperament, strength, touch, speed, fortitude, self-control, manners, nuance, variety, competition, and civility. But we dismiss all that. We think to be cool, we need to dress like the kidz do, to be whacky, funny, loud, the same as them. It is pathetic.

Golf is not an easy watch, live or on TV, it takes 4 hours. It is slow. The entry bar to understanding its nuances is enormous and not for all.

Making it louder, blinkier and more mainstream doesn’t change any of that. It just means we lose our dignity and we end up like an embarrassing uncle staggering on to the dance floor with a tie around his head, screaming Mr Brightside.

We deserve the foul WM Phoenix Open. We brought it on ourselves.

NOW READ: Two PGA Tour stars lost their temper with fans at the WM Phoenix Open!

NOW READ: How much did Nick Taylor earn for winning the WM Phoenix Open?

Do the fans at Phoenix Open take it too far? What can be done to tame the Phoenix Open fans? Tell us on X/Twitter!

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin

Tom is a lifetime golfer, now over 30 years playing the game. 2023 marks 10 years in golf publishing and he is still holding down a + handicap at Alwoodley in Leeds. He has played over 600 golf courses, and has been a member of at least four including his first love Louth, in Lincolnshire. Tom likes unbranded clothing, natural fibres, and pencil bags. Seacroft in Lincolnshire is where it starts and ends.

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