The People's Open
The People's Open
The People’s Open is an ongoing project that documents the unique, and at times, deviant behavior that takes place at the PGA tour’s most attended event; The Waste Management Phoenix Open. It is a golf tournament unlike any other in the world that has a distinctive reputation on tour and long history of mayhem unfolding throughout the week. The tournament is more a social event to be to be seen at, a place to get thoroughly intoxicated at any hour of the day, dress up (or down) in costumes, and a safe space to yell whatever you’d like at professional golfers for hitting mediocre golf shots.
If you watch golf you know the environment at the tournament is unique. However, if you have never attended the tournament on a Saturday yourself, you haven’t seen everything. Saturday begins around 3:00am when roughly 2000 dedicated patrons show up and start drinking in the parking lot. Following the early morning tailgate, a drunken human stampede storms the entrance at 6:00am destroying everything in sight. The party doesn’t stop until sunset when most patrons find themselves have passed out, vomiting, arrested, or even urinating themselves. As a golfer, long time patron of the Phoenix Open, and at times, apart of the chaos myself, I have always been fascinated by this tournament. Each year it shatters the previous year’s already staggering attendance record and continues to aggressively push the limits of what behavior is acceptable at a professional sporting event. I wanted to get in the middle of the madness and create images that go beyond what is broadcasted on television, and document the tournament as I’ve see it for so many years.
Good or bad, The Thunderbirds have tapped into something that is unmatchable by any other golf tournament on the PGA Tour. Some people hate it, most love it, but there is definitely nothing quite like the contrast of typical golf etiquette to the behavior displayed at the “The People’s Open.”