Last week, after aces by Sam Ryder and Carlos Ortiz, beer showers erupted in golf’s boisterous core TPC Scottsdale’s coliseum on No. 16 and then again at the WM Phoenix Open.
The Honda Classic, however, is guaranteeing that such wild occurrences do not make their way from Phoenix to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, next week, thanks to another dynamic hole, the par-3 17th.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the tournament is beefing up security on No. 17 after adding an extra deck to the Bear Trap’s hospitality area surrounding the tee box this year. The 190-yard course also has a big grandstand surrounding it that can hold over 17,000 fans in its bleachers.
“The difference now, coming off (the Phoenix Open), is making sure we’re doubling down on the safety aspect,” said Andrew George, tournament director for the Honda Classic. “That entails more marshals, security, and signage.” When those factors are combined, they can be beneficial. It’s just a friendly reminder that this is still a PGA Tour event. They’re [fans] perched above the tee. It’s entertaining to see, but we have to respect those guys.”
In previous years, players have expressed worries about spectator conduct during the Honda Classic. “If the wind is incorrect at the 17th tee, you can get a vodka cranberry splashed on you,” Graeme McDowell joked in 2018. “They’re so near.” In 2017, Billy Horschel filed a complaint with the Tour about Sergio Garcia and other players being heckled.
Ortiz claimed he was attacked in the back with a beer can following his hole-in-one last week. Despite the fact that players in Phoenix said they appreciated the crazy atmosphere, there is a limit.
“The beer being thrown on the green is more just inconvenient for tempo of play’s sake and obviously dangerous, people getting struck and whatever,” Justin Thomas said during his final round of the WM Phoenix Open, during which beer cans rained down on No. 16 after he had a 13-foot chip-in for birdie.
“But, yes, the yelling and loudness are all part of the game; it’s all in good fun. Some people like it, some don’t, but you don’t have to come here if you don’t like it. It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s a fantastic opportunity. But, yes, the beer flinging may be a little dangerous at times.”
Despite the additional safety procedures, George is still planning a TPC Scottsdale-style party at the Champion Course next week, but is hoping for no cleanups on aisle 17.
“”We want a rowdy crowd,” he explained. “We don’t want [fans] to sit on their hands and be silent because that amphitheater at 17 is magnificent.” It’s just a matter of training them on right behavior. There are certain things that are acceptable and certain things that, from a safety standpoint, cross the line.
“It’s just not possible for us to toss beers at fans.””
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