Jon Rahm hopeful fans ‘rein back’ on excessive celebrations at Phoenix Open
Jon Rahm insists he loves the rowdy atmosphere of the WM Phoenix Open but hopes there will be no repeat of the incidents which marred last year’s event.
A hole-in-one from Sam Ryder on the par-three 16th prompted many of the 20,000 spectators in the grandstand to throw their beer cans on to the green, causing a 10-minute delay in play.
And when Justin Thomas, who was playing alongside Rahm, chipped in on the same hole during the final round it sparked a similar reaction.
🗣 The ace heard 'round the world 🗣
A moment @SamRyderSU and many others won't soon forget.#TOURVault pic.twitter.com/Q8Khb8QqnQ
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 7, 2023
“Since I came here for the first time eight years ago it’s gotten exponentially louder and louder,” Rahm said in a pre-event press conference. “It’s been a significant difference every year.
“On 16 last year when Justin Thomas chipped in, I didn’t want to see the water bottle coming straight for my head from the third storey (of the grandstand), but I did see it, so hopefully those are things they rein back on and keep it strictly about the game.
“Those are things people don’t want to deal with on a regular basis. It’s one week a year, so I think a lot of us welcome it for one week.”
This week’s event is one of the PGA Tour’s new “elevated” tournaments with a prize fund of USD 20million (£16.6million) and has attracted a top-class field which includes 18 of the world’s top 20.
“I think this was a designated event before we ever knew what they were going to be,” Rahm added.
“No matter what the purse is, this tournament is going to be what it is. Very few sporting events in the world can comfortably happen in the same week as the Super Bowl and still have the impact that they have like this one.
“With that said, I don’t think it’s everybody’s favourite. I think either you love it or hate it. There’s no in between. With my case, I love it. I want to come every year.
“It ranks highly in my list but I know a few players that put it far down their list.”