After WM Phoenix Open mayhem, Tour winner dreams of 1 form of punishment

Micah Fugitt, Billy Horschel

Billy Horschel, right, and caddie Micah Fugitt last week at the WM Phoenix Open.

Getty Images

Billy Horschel wants to be proactive. Forward-thinking, not backward. He’s done screaming. No more shouting. 

For now. 

A week ago, he’d been in the center of the storm at the WM Phoenix Open. TPC Scottsdale, which always untucks its golf shirt, turned unstable. On Saturday, alcohol sales were shut off and gates were closed to fans. Throughout the week, videos were shared of fan recklessness. Including one featuring Horschel

The seven-time PGA Tour winner was standing in the fairway on the 11th hole. Playing partner Nicolo Galletti hit. Fans chirped. Horschel barked. 

“Buddy, when he’s over the shot, shut the hell up, man,” Horschel yelled, the scene caught on a video. 

“Come on, he’s trying to hit a damn golf shot here. 

“It’s our f***ing job.”

But that was last week. And this is this week. Time to move on. Solutions. In response, in an interview on Golf Channel on Monday, the executive director of the group that runs the event said changes were coming. On Friday, in a statement, the tournament said tickets that were denied on Saturday would be refunded. 

“Last week, we encountered among the most difficult conditions in the history of the event, as heavy rain on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday morning contributed to a significant deterioration in the conditions at TPC Scottsdale,” the statement said. “This rainfall made a large percentage of the 190-acre golf course unusable by our fans and created significant operational challenges for the tournament.  When these conditions created congestion throughout the golf course on Saturday, the decision was made to temporarily close the main entrance and end concession sales so that we could provide a pathway for fans to safely exit the golf course.

“We understand the frustration that this caused for our fans. Those fans who purchased a ticket and were denied entrance on Saturday can request a refund by emailing A dedicated team will be available to respond to inquiries and answer any questions.

Change coming to WM Phoenix Open after mayhem, safety concerns
By: Jack Hirsh

“As for the future, we are aware that changes need to be made and we will spend the upcoming months identifying those areas where change is necessary. Not just for Friday and Saturday, but for the entire week.

“The Thunderbirds are motivated and constantly looking to make the WM Phoenix Open experience better, ensuring the future success of this tournament for the fans and our community for years to come.”

Then there’s Horschel. He has a thought. 

Earlier this week, he made the media rounds. An interview with SiriusXM. A sitdown with Chris Solomon on the No Laying Up podcast (which you can listen to in full here). There, he went over the week. 

There, Horschel had his solution. He said it was not “dead-serious.”   

Horschel thought roles could reverse. 

“I’ve said this to a few people in the media,” he said on the podcast. “I wish they would find some of these people that are heckling players out on the golf course to where it’s crossing the line a little bit, figure out what they do, find their name, their job, and then in three or four months, get some players to show up out of the blue and heckle the s**t out of them at their job while they’re trying to do it and see what it’s like. Try and perform. 

“Especially let’s say they’re trying to do a meeting or a speech or a proposal, let’s go heckle the crap out of that guy. That would be funny to me to see something like that happen because I think it would just — it wouldn’t be apples to apples, but you would sort of get a sense of what it’s like.” 

Gates closed, alcohol sales suspended amid chaos at WM Phoenix Open | Rogers Report
By: Claire Rogers

Said Solomon: “I love that. I think you’d have to do it as a parody video.”

Said Horschel: “Yeah, exactly. Not dead serious. It’s just a fun, parody kind of thing. Not a dead-serious kind of thing at all.”

Has the idea been thought of before? Yes. Are sports jobs different from office jobs? Yes. But it’d be fun to watch.      

As for the author’s solution? Let’s offer one more fix. 

Ban cellphones. It works at the Masters. There’s an enthusiasm to go viral. But take away the ability to film, and the zest goes away some. 

And you still get golf and happy fans and booze and hot dogs. 

Exit mobile version