SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Waste Management Phoenix Open is known for the big crowds it draws, as well as the party atmosphere. However, that is set to change in 2021 as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the things that makes the Waste Management Phoenix Open a must-see golf event every year is the iconic 16th hole, one of the only places where a golf event can feel like a rock concert. With the ongoing pandemic, that feeling will be different in 2021.
"This year, we’re going with the scaled-back reduced build," said Waste Management Phoenix Open Tournament Chair Scott Jenkins.
The stadium hole will be reduced to a one-level, open-air bleachers without suites for the early February event. Construction was ongoing for the event that’s less than two months away, and a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of fans who usually attend the event will be allowed in.
"If we can land between 5,000 and 8,000 fans a day for the entire tournament, that would be a home run for us because the reason we put this tournament on is to contribute to our local charities, and if we can get some fans and make a difference we can, write some checks to our local charity partners," said Jenkins.
Typically, there’s three levels of fans right on top of the action, but even with reduced capacity, they’ll still try to capture that special something that makes the Waste Management Open so cool.
"We’re going to do our best. We like to think it’s the most exciting and best hole in golf. It’s the people’s open, it’s important to have people out here if we can, if we can do it in a safe manner.”