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Officials defend closing WM Phoenix Open gates, halting alcohol sales

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The WM Phoenix Open is over and there is a lot of attention on the tournament that has nothing to do with golf.

There is still a lot of discussion about what happened on Saturday. The crowds were so large that organizers stopped letting people into the tournament and stopped selling alcohol, saying it was in the best interest of public safety.

Officials say it all depended on the weather and its effects on the area. It started earlier in the week when rain and mud closed parking lots. And on Saturday, which is historically the busiest day of the tournament, people stayed in the aisles instead of walking through the muddy grass, causing major traffic jams.

People at the WM Phoenix Open on Saturday were left confused after alcohol sales were stopped. Videos posted on social media highlight the massive number of people at the tournament and the environment.

Due to the wet weather this week, areas where people normally walked or sat were wet and muddy. People gathered in the same areas. “It kept things too crowded for too long,” Scottsdale Police Officer Aaron Bolin said.

Around 2 p.m. Saturday, public safety officials decided to close the main entrance and stopped serving alcohol in general admission concessions. “The idea behind it was just to get a little more movement,” Officer Bolin said.

Before this happened, some people say they were admitted in massive groups without their tickets even being scanned. Bolin says there were too many people between the metal detectors and the main entrance where they scan tickets. They say they had to get people out of that caged area for security reasons, which is why the tickets weren’t scanned.

On the other hand, some people say they had tickets but were turned away once the entrance closed. WM Phoenix Open officials say they are aware that fans with tickets for Saturday were turned away and said the Thunderbirds are gathering more details and discussing options on how to address their concerns. “It was 100 percent the right decision,” Scottsdale Fire Capt. Dave Folio said. “If it saved a life because someone didn’t get an alcoholic beverage, so be it.”

Despite what might have looked like chaos, Folio says the number of calls they responded to was nothing out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, Scottsdale police say they have arrested 54 people this year, compared to 18 last year, and deported 211 people, which is 109 more people than in 2023. “We are making the best choices possible to protect the safety of fans ” said Bolin. .

We asked Open officials if people would be refunded their tickets Saturday if they weren’t allowed in. We will let you know as soon as they respond to us.

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