Bartender explains why alcohol sales were halted at golf tournament that descended into chaos

12 News/Youtube @dustinwilliamson23/TikTok

‘There was almost half a million people on that course’: Bartender explains why alcohol sales were halted at golf tournament that descended into chaos

'My dad volunteers here every year, and this year he’s deemed his last.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Feb 12, 2024   Updated on Feb 14, 2024, 12:45 pm CST

Recently, the Waste Management Phoenix Open took place in Arizona. While the tournament is known to be a bit rowdier than its counterparts in the golf world, it would seem that this year took things a bit too far.

According to Yahoo! Sports, “The third round of the 2024 Phoenix Open saw tournament organizers suspend alcohol sales across TPC Scottsdale and close off entrances to the course, seemingly due to a crowd that became too big and too rowdy.”

“The crowd congestion was bad enough to affect the actual running of the tournament, as Golfweek reports that the golf carts used by PGA Tour officials and television crews had to be parked due to increased foot traffic,” the article notes. “There was also an incident Friday in which a fan had to be hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after falling from the grandstands.”

Now, a user on TikTok has gone viral after sharing their experience of working at the tournament. In a clip with over 6.5 million views, TikTok user Dustin Williamson (@dustinwilliamson23) recounts his time working at the event.

According to Williamson, the crowd had grown far above expectations. In his telling, there were around 500,000 people in attendance, though this number is unconfirmed and would be a dramatic increase from the tournament’s previous single-day attendance record of 216,818 people.

Going on, while many outlets report that gates were closed due to overcrowding, Williamson alleges that this overcrowding may have been due in part to the gate staff themselves.

“The security that were supposed to be checking tickets at the gate just said, ‘F*ck this,’ and started letting everybody in without checking tickets,” Williamson claims. “People were getting in for free, people were getting into VIP boxes for free where it’s all you can drink, and eventually everybody in the VIP boxes were like, ‘Ah, f*ck it, we’ll just serve everybody no matter what.’”

With free-flowing alcohol and lax enforcement, Williamson says the scene soon became chaotic, prompting concerns over crowd control. When this happened, those running the event made the call to cease alcohol service altogether.

“When they told us to stop serving, we just stood around and hoped that they were going to say, ‘OK, we can serve now in like a half hour, hopefully some people will get out,’ but that never happened,” Williamson explains. “After standing around for over two hours, they eventually said, ‘We’re done, we want everybody out.'”

“So everybody that was in general admission and not in a VIP skybox, they ended up leaving because they couldn’t buy food, they couldn’t buy non-alcoholic drinks, and they couldn’t buy alcoholic drinks, so there’s really no point to be there because who cares about golf, right?” he continues.

In summary, Williamson simply says, “There was way too many people there for them to manage the situation, and so they thought it was best to just clear everybody out before stuff got really out of hand.”

@dustinwilliamson23 #stitch with @kelsey rowles #wmo #wastemanagement #bartender ♬ Dance You Outta My Head – Cat Janice

In the comments section, users shared their own perceptions of the event.

“As a spectator from my couch, it looked/sounded like a frat party and not a golf match,” said a user.

“I bartend at a hotel in Scottsdale. Not to mention locals going, but TONS of people fly in. Our hotel was 108% occupancy this week because of WM. Easily could’ve hit that number,” added another about the attendance.

“My dad volunteers here every year and this year he’s deemed his last,” declared a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Williamson via email.

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*First Published: Feb 12, 2024, 10:00 am CST