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OPINION: WM Phoenix Open 2024

Sunday, 11 February 2024

The WM Phoenix Open - SGH Events’ reflections on a wonderful golf spectacle that attracted controversy in 2024

The WM Phoenix Open - SGH Events’ reflections on a wonderful golf spectacle that attracted controversy in 2024

Snow angels in the sand, topless sliding down muddy hills and shutting the bars early, you would be forgiven for thinking we were talking about a music festival rather than a golf tournament.
It was SGH Events' inaugural trip to the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona in February, dubbed the ‘People’s Tournament’, and with hundreds of thousands of people attending, there really isn’t a golfing event like it.

It is fast becoming the most popular golf tournament outside of the Majors, but with off-the-course antics getting as many headlines as what happened on the greens, what do we make of the 2024 WM Phoenix Open?

What happened at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open?

On the course - Canadian Nick Taylor beat Charlie Hoffman in an enthralling playoff to win his fourth PGA Tour title. He birdied three of his last four holes to force the gripping playoff against Hoffman, who had risen to the top of the leaderboard with a scintillating score of 64 in the fourth round. World number one Scottie Scheffler, Sam Burns and Sahith Theegala made up the rest of the top five.

Off the course - Tournament officials had to shut the gates earlier than planned on Saturday after overwhelming support meant that some paying spectators were unable to get in. There were some arrests, with reports of a few spectators fighting, public urinating, and other behaviour that isn’t typical of a golfing event. 

The event will have to change, and the organisers have said as much in the aftermath. 

There has been too much criticism from the players and the organisers simply cannot ignore this because the best players in the world need to turn up. For Zach Johnson to tell fans to ‘just shut up,’ and Billy Horschel being reduced to shouting and swearing at a fan in frustration, you can see that the crowd needs to show some more respect for the players who ultimately put the spectacle on.

Should what happened this year affect whether I go to the WM Phoenix Open 2025?

Simply, no, not at all. As is often the case when something controversial happens, it’s the few that spoil it for the many, and that’s why SGH Events is delighted to be taking golfing aficionadas to this mecca of golf for the second time in 2025. 

Events like the WM Phoenix Open are needed to attract a younger and more diverse audience to the world of golf. Sport can never be insular, you have to appeal to wider audiences, and how can you argue with an event that attracts a colossal 230,000 people per day? 

What is so special about the WM Phoenix Open?

The iconic 16th hole has become the biggest and most raucous in world golf. It has an atmosphere that other courses could only dream of, including the Ryder Cup and the Majors. Our founder, Andrew Jennings, says:

“If you haven’t experienced sitting on that 16th hole, you haven’t fully experienced a golf event. It is totally engaging from the first person that comes onto the hole. There are boos and clapping, depending on if you hit the green, and the hysteria really comes over if you are within a foot of the pin, like what happened when Scottie Scheffler almost holed it.”

Our experience of Phoenix is that it is an absolute golf haven. There are 230 courses there, and with the likes of powerhouse golfing companies such as Ping and PXG being based out of the Arizona city, it is clear to see why people are attracted to this region in their droves.

Why should I go to the WM Phoenix Open with SGH Events?

One thing we can do at SGH Events is allow people different packages, depending on whether you enjoy being a part of the party, or if you would like a more relaxed experience. 

16th hole package: Our hospitality package on the 16th hole can get pretty raucous, but it is an atmosphere unlike any other you will experience on a golf course. If you like to be amongst the party, this is the one for you.

17th hole package: If you prefer a more sedate experience, or if you just don’t want to have to deal with the sort of party atmosphere that the event is becoming synonymous with, our package by the 17th hole offers a quieter and more refined view of some of the world’s best golfers in action.

Super Bowl: What’s more, this event takes place on the same weekend as the Super Bowl. If you are a fan of sport, being in America when the world’s biggest sporting event is being staged is something very special. We organised a private bar in downtown Scottsdale to watch this year’s event, and we intend on doing the same next year.

What are your overall conclusions of the WM Phoenix Open?

One thing is for sure; the WM Phoenix Open has got people talking. Everybody will have their own opinions on what they want to experience from an event like this, but our take was overwhelmingly positive.
The atmosphere is like no other event and our hospitality packages take you away from where some of the more rowdy behaviour takes place. The engagement the crowd has with the players simply cannot be replicated anywhere else. 
We will leave you with the words of AJ if you are thinking of attending the event next year:

“It is a spectacle you need to see if you like golf, but stay away from general admittance, and enjoy the event with us.”

To enquire about our 2025 WM Phoenix Open packages, email 

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