‘It’s a shame’: Phoenix Open champ laments rowdy fans who ruined the party

WM Phoenix Open champion Nick Taylor speaks with reporters at the 2024 Genesis Invitational

WM Phoenix Open champion Nick Taylor speaks with reporters at the 2024 Genesis Invitational.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last weekend at the WM Phoenix Open, the traditional party atmosphere devolved into mayhem, with rowdy fans disrupting the event more than usual, leading to a decision at one point on Saturday to shut the gates and stop alcohol sales.

While we’ve heard a lot about the chaos that unfolded at TPC Scottsdale, including a tournament organizer’s promises to make changes, we had yet to hear from the week’s winner, Canadian pro Nick Taylor.

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Taylor put on a clutch display on Sunday to close out regulation and win a playoff over Charley Hoffman, backing up the reputation he previously burnished with a similarly-gutsy victory at last year’s Canadian Open, where he became the tournament’s first Canadian winner in 69 years.

This week, Taylor is in Los Angeles for the 2024 Genesis Invitational, where he sat down with reporters for a pre-tournament press conference.

When asked about the fan incidents during this year’s Phoenix Open, Taylor called them “unfortunate,” but he also suggested it’s par for the course at the event.

“From the videos that I’ve seen, those instances are unfortunate, but I don’t think it’s a standalone, it’s been like that for a bit,” Taylor said. “But I think the cat’s probably out of the bag.”

Taylor also placed the blame on “small percentage” of the rowdiest spectators, and lamented their negative effect on the fans who were there to enjoy the tournament.

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“You know, it’s a shame when only a very small percentage of fans are like that, it gets exposed a bit, but the majority of the fans are great, they’re just trying to watch some good golf and cheer. Yeah, that needs to be cut out.” Taylor explained.

As for how the WM Phoenix Open tournament organizers can get a hold on the worst-behaving fans while maintaining the beloved atmosphere, Taylor doesn’t see any easy solutions.

“I don’t know how much they can change. I think it’s a week where the classic line is that I can do this for one week but multiple weeks, probably not.”

But he also suggested that the specific complications of this year’s tournament caused by horrendous weather were mostly responsible for the uptick in disruptive fan behavior.

“I think this year again with the weather, everybody kind of getting in the same area waiting around, it was probably a perfect storm to cause some of that a little more, but I’m not sure how they would reel it back to be honest.”

Now with four PGA Tour wins on his resume, Taylor will attempt to capture his first Signature Event this week at Tiger Woods’ Genesis Invitational, where he hopes to meet, and maybe play with, Woods for the first time.

Taylor tees off for Round 1 on Thursday at 12:01 p.m. ET with Viktor Hovland and Sam Burns.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.

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