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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The Waste Management Phoenix Open has gone too far

The Waste Management Phoenix Open caused a lot of trouble this weekend due to its infamous 16th hole.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) has been happening since 1932. It has become wildly popular within the last couple years specifically because of hole 16 at TPC Scottsdale. This hole is the holy grail of the entire tournament. People line up hours before the tournament starts, early in the morning, to make sure they can secure themselves a spot in the stands at the hole. People have been calling this tournament The People’s Open this year. 

The WMPO has an atmosphere unlike any other golf tournament on the tour. This one, specifically on hole 16, which is a par-3 hole with stands going around either side of the hole, is absolutely crazy. People are either constantly booing you or cheering you on as a player and there is no in between. If you have a bad putt, you will get booed and if you have a great approach on the hole you will be cheered for like never before. 

Two years ago at the tournament, two players on tour ripped their shirts off after sinking their putts. Those players were Harry Higgs and Joel Dahmen. This sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy and everyone loved it. Alcohol and beer cans were flying everywhere; people were going absolutely bonkers. This is just one reason why everyone loves hole 16 so much.

Now, while everyone in the crowd loved this, the tour and partnerships with these players were not so excited about it. The PGA Tour tried to fine each player $10,000 for their stunt. They thought that this was a breach of their contract for them to do and was not a good look for the tour or the sponsors that they represent. 

While it has not been accomplished very often, if someone gets a hole-in-one or an ace on the whole, spectators will act very similarly to these golfers if one makes it. Not only does everyone go absolutely nuts, but when players make an ace on the hole people will throw their beer and any other alcohol or garbage they have onto the green of the hole. Spectators have no decorum whatsoever when that happens and almost forget how to act. 

Alcohol was a major issue this year at the tournament. Within the first day, alcohol sales were reaching hundreds of thousands of beers sold and went well over a million for the whole tournament. There was a point during the tournament where they had to close alcohol sales for the day, because they were running out due to the over abundance of alcohol being consumed by spectators. 

The reason they were running out was not only because spectators wanted a lot of alcohol, but because they stopped scanning the tickets of people who were going to the tournament. Those that had tickets didn’t really need them, and if someone in the area wanted to go they could just show up. This amounted to almost 500,000 people being on the course at one time and caused alcohol stands to be overwhelmed with the amount of people that were coming up to them. 

People also made their way onto the course between when players were playing. One can probably figure that was due to their condition from all the alcohol consumption that was going on. Nonetheless, the WMPO is a one of a kind experience that requires one to not be afraid to run to get a good spot on hole 16 or ruin your shoes in the process. Also, if you want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with over 500,000 people on the course at one time, then be my guest.

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NICOLE WATERS, Sports Writer

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