Problems persist at the Phoenix Open
Scottsdale has just played host to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, as it does each year. The tournament is fairly relaxed by golf standards. It is also the most well-attended golf event in the country. Round three of the tournament saw almost 205,000 in attendance this year, a new single-day record. Overall attendance was over 650,000.
What also distinguishes the Phoenix Open, more than the size of the crowds or even the course itself, is the party atmosphere. We’re not sure exactly how that evolved, but it was described in a headline this year: How the Phoenix Open Became the Biggest Party on the PGA Tour. So, what does that have to do with the issue of DUI arrests in Arizona?
Every year prior to the tournament the local police, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and even the state Department of Public Safety announce a task force to deter and/or apprehend suspected violators of the DUI laws driving to and from the Open. The task force seems to grow larger over time, and this year officers from Mesa, Chandler, Phoenix and Tempe joined in. Somehow, the perceived alcohol problem at the Open seems to transcend the fact that DUI arrests across Arizona are down for the fourth consecutive year.
This year’s homage to drunk driving was interesting, to say the least. The tournament runs from Thursday through Sunday. All the players participate in the first two rounds, but only those making the cut on Friday play over the weekend. As you can imagine, Thursday evening is a time when you want to take good care of yourself, eat well, sleep well, and prepare for Friday. After all, if you don’t do well, the tournament ends for you the following day. And then along comes Australian golfer Steve Bowditch.
Bowditch was apparently driving at around 1:00 a.m. Friday morning, when a motorist reported his truck swerving on the road. When police arrived, they found him behind the wheel at a traffic light, where he was either asleep or passed out. Police say his BAC was 0204, qualifying for an extreme DUI charge. He was arrested and brought to Scottsdale City jail, and was eventually bailed out.
Probably the strangest aspect of the whole episode is that Bowditch actually played the second round on Friday. He has issued an apology for his behavior. Not surprisingly, he didn’t make the cut!
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004