Reports of fans rushing past the security gates of the WM Phoenix Open on Friday morning have been dismissed by Scottsdale public safety officials and by a PGA tour event spokesperson.
“There were reports this morning that there were possibly stormings at the gates, but that’s not true,” Scottsdale police spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Quon said in a Friday morning livestream posted to the department’s Facebook page. “I can tell you that it’s very controlled, very safe.”
Quon appeared to be addressing a Twitter video posted at 5:45 a.m. local time by an ABC 15 reporter showing dozens of people rushing with gates in the foreground.
“Trying to figure out what happened. About a thousand people waiting outside #WMPhoenixOpen just ran through gates. Security said gates weren’t set to open until 7. Some are saying a supervisor gave permission to open early,” read a message attached to the video posted by reporter Jamie Warren.
Quon’s livestream showed part of the course and an apparent lack of people as he explained no one had been admitted entry.
“As you can tell, there is no one on the course yet, so there is no crowd-storming,” Quon said in the video with a 7:04 a.m. time stamp.
The livestream then proceeded to show a mass of people rushing on the paved roadway adjacent to the course, which Quon had explained was planned.
In an email to The Arizona Republic, Scottsdale Police Department spokesperson Officer Aaron Bolin said fans are allowed to line up early, but gates do not officially open until 7 a.m. local time.
“Fans lining up and running to the general admission seating areas at Hole 16 has been a long-standing tradition at the WM Phoenix Open. We work closely with the PGA, Waste Management, and security teams to ensure this fun tradition is done as safely as possible,” Bolin’s email read.
A 6:46 a.m. Scottsdale Fire Department tweet also denied reports there was no security on the course.
In a video attached to the post, department spokesperson Capt. Dave Folio is heard saying that reports of fans overrunning security “is absolutely not true.”
The fire agency’s attached video showed what appears to be hundreds of people lined up against the railing.
WM Phoenix’s communication director, Ryan Woodcock, told The Republic that fan attendance on Friday and Saturday is usually heavier, so fans go through security and then have to wait until the course opens at 7 a.m.
“It just makes it smoother so not everyone is all rushing at the same time,” Woodcock said.
The video of fans running was likely just a small group unaware there was another wait before the actual jog to the course, Woodcock explained, adding that those fans would have been stopped at another point prior to making it to the green.
The WM Phoenix Open on Thursday announced the event had sold out for Friday and Saturday for the first time ever. The tournament stopped releasing attendance figures in 2018.
Photos: Check out the fans at the people’s tournament, the 2023 WM Phoenix Open
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