Rowdy Phoenix Open Defies Golf Protocol

Rowdy Phoenix Open Defies Golf Protocol

The game of golf may be the only proof adherents of Charles Darwin need to prove their point about evolution, and this week's raucous Waste Management Phoenix Open is the most persuasive argument that tradition is transitory, change a constant.

The country club Bacchanal that takes place at this tournament every year has been an occasion for tut-tutting for years, and with some justification. Who can listen to cries of "Get in the hole!" from besotted loudmouths without cringing over the fate of the gentleman's great olde game?

But what seemed outrageous just a scant few years ago has fast become de rigueur. Here in Scottsdale, Ariz., gone are the years of hushed galleries and the reverent whisper of the much-parodied golf commentator. And perhaps because this particular tournament takes place in the shadow of that more formal party, Super Bowl weekend, it has managed to morph into a pre-spring fertility ritual. Rowdy public behavior is now old hat here in the Wild West. It's a shootout at the TPC Corral.

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