Watch out for the PGA Tour’s fun police — they already got rid of the caddie races last year on the par-3 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Now, players will be prohibited from throwing swag into the stands. A notice was posted in the locker room at this week’s Sony Open that was first tweeted by Golfweek’s Alex Miceli.
“At this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, for fan safety reasons, players and caddies are prohibited from throwing, kicking or otherwise propelling items into the crowd on the 16th hole,” read the flyer.
The PGA Tour becoming like the no fun league. Trying to take the fun out of Phoenix Open. pic.twitter.com/tuWl7dAwsp
— Alex Miceli (@alexmiceli) January 13, 2015
Someone wrote on top of the notice, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
Unfortunately, no, the Tour is not. The Tour’s chief of operations Andy Pazder told the AP that the warning would be posted at TPC Scottsdale, in the tent on the tee boxes before players start their rounds and on the electronic scoreboard on the 16th hole. However, he did clarify that objects can’t be thrown “indiscriminately.” What first got the Tour’s attention was when Padraig Harrington kicked footballs in the stands on the rowdy, stadium-like hole in 2013.
Players are still allowed to give away swag, though — by handing it to a fan.
”If a player is going by handing them out or flipping them to someone in the first row, that’s fine,” said Pazder. ”But not going by throwing things like a Frisbee.”
”A fan in public seating in a mad scramble to get a hat is going to hurt himself, or land on top of another person,” he said. ”I would say to the players, `Think about the liability.”’
Um, well, think about all the booze that’s being consumed by the drunk fans (under the hot desert sun), while they’re waiting to harass their favorite players on the notorious 16th hole. I’d think dehydration and fights would be more likely to a “safety” issue than trying to get a free t-shirt or hat. Last we checked, alcohol has not yet been banned from the tournament.
Perhaps the Tour is trying to play defense a bit this year with the craziness that occurs at the infamous party stop, as the Super Bowl is taking place across town at the University of Phoenix Stadium the same week as the tournament. Then, there’s the fact that Tiger Woods is making his first start at TPC Scottsdale since 2001. (Maybe they don’t want him to feel obligated to partake in giveaways?)