Why ‘The Coliseum’ is nothing to do with growing golf and never will

It was no real surprise that the reaction to this corresponding claiming a line had been crossed there at the weekend as cans and bottles were thrown by fans in reaction to holes-in-one during the WM Phoenix Open was mixed.

“Go and iron your plus fours,” was the response from one person on the lively Scottish Golf Noticeboard and I have to admit that I totally expected something like that.

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The same goes for this comment, posted by an American it would seem, on Twitter: “Keep your stale opinions on your stale island with your stale food and your stale approach to the game.”

Russell Knox hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Picture: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

At the same time, though, others agreed that the scenes following those aces by Sam Ryder and Carlos Ortiz during the PGA Tour event had been unacceptable and, of course, would have led to arrests if they’d occurred at a football or rugby match on this side of the Atlantic.

Like many others, I had no real problems with the hole called ‘The Coliseum’ until this year. It is, indeed, a one-off in the game and there’s no denying it is now a very impressive sight.

What happened at the weekend, though, was a sign that things can quickly get out of hand when alcohol is involved and that’s why it simply can’t be allowed to happen again.

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Martin Dempster: No place in golf for bottles and cans being thrown by fans

It’s a disgrace that the tournament organizers have not come out and condemned such behavior at a golf event and don’t give me that nonsense about “golf had a brief glimpse of a crowd and players having fun”.

“Refine rather than reject” was the suggestion from another person to comment on the hot topic and that just about hits the nail on the head.

Bottles and cans should be instantly banned at next year’s event and plastic cups be used instead for that consumption of alcohol, which is clearly part of why so many people want to be around that green in the first place.

Yes, of course, attending a golf tournament needs to be fun and I get that the on-course action itself is not necessarily enough to tick every box these days.

Hence why tented villages have more and more going on in them and not just in respect of food and drink options. The recent Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour, for example, was a real hive of activity at various points around the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.

The Open, of course, is another perfect illustration of how golf events have evolved and the same goes for the Women’s Open and the Scottish Opens.

Yes, the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale can continue to be something different in the game and appeal to people who might not necessarily follow golf on a regular basis.

But it’s never going to grow golf and, make no mistake, will do more harm than good if Saturday and Sunday is a sign of what we can expect there going forward.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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