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Scottsdale Fire, TPC Scottsdale bartender react to Saturday shutdown at WM Phoenix Open

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Another WM Phoenix Open is in the books, and it was a busy and hectic week in Scottsdale.

Bad weather impacted course conditions, and huge crowds forced tournament officials to close the gates on Saturday, turning people with tickets away. Vendors also stopped selling alcohol in the afternoon. Scottsdale Fire says in order to get people to leave, stopping the sale of alcohol was the right move.

"If we can save one person's life through the decisions that are made in that command center..." Scottsdale Fire's Dave Folio said. That's the mindset Folio and the unified command system for public safety team have when making decisions at TPC Scottsdale; even decisions as controversial as no longer selling alcohol on the golf course.

"What you saw at the front entrance was this huge backup about two o'clock in the afternoon where probably 25,000 people really showed up," Folio said. "When he [the command center leader] made that decision, it was probably one of the best decisions I've seen in the last 30 years. Because people started to leave."

Folio says all in all, they had 60 total calls for service yesterday, including 11 calls involving people who were transported. Tournament officials say places where fans usually sat were too muddy and unusable. That pushed too many people too close together, creating an environment that bartender Dustin Williamson says was unlike anything he's ever seen in his seven years on the course.

"We're jampacked, 50 people deep in lines, and I'm in the middle of making drinks for these two people, and our manager comes up to us and says we're not serving alcohol anymore. Scottsdale Police says put a pause on all alcohol sales," Williamson said. "And we're all just kind of looking around at each other like, what the hell?" What do you mean they put a pause on it?"

Williamson says at first, he was told by managers not to sell alcohol. Then that extended to not selling any drinks. He says those working the bars rely on tips and that an afternoon without booze probably cost him and his colleagues more than $500. "There were a lot of people that were very frustrated," he said. "Because people come from out of town, they'll fly here to work this event because of how lucrative it can be."

Arizona's Family attempted to speak with tournament officials regarding how Saturday's issues could have been prevented and what might change in the future regarding tournament protocols, but were unable to get a response.

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