PHOENIX - Officials with the Waste Management Phoenix Open say the golfing event in 2021 will look different as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an e-mail received by FOX 10 on the afternoon of August 19, which laid out the changes.
"This week, we notified our suite holders that most of the hospitality venues that create our event’s incredible tournament atmosphere will not be constructed," read a portion of the statement. "In light of the fact that we usually start building our venues in late September/early October, it is just not prudent to do so under the current circumstances."
Officials with WMPO say it is their every intention to have fans at the event during the week of February 1.
"We are pivoting and planning an event that may have less fans and venues but will still be a world-class event that will make our community proud and support our charity partners," read a portion of the statement.
According to the WMPO's website, 2021's tournament is set to take place from February 1 to February 7. Organizers are expected to make additional announcements on 2021's WMPO at a later date.
WMPO's economic impact on the Valley
In a 2018 sustainability report by officials with WMPO, they estimate the event has a $390 million economic impact, which they claim is one of the largest financial impacts of any golfing event in the country.
The ripple effect of the changes made will also impact the hospitality industry.
Food and beverage provider for the WMPO, M Culinary Concepts, says it's not fond of the news, but understands it.
Michael Savros, partner and director of business development with M Culinary Concepts, says, "It's an experience unto itself," of the open.
He remembers his first time at the open working for the company in 2010. He says he became a "logistics geek" after seeing what it took to organize an event of this magnitude.
"We certainly don't disagree with it. It is probably the safest course of action," he said of the news.
He says the company will adapt, but adds, "The entire hospitality industry is ground to a halt."
The company served around 220,000 attendees over six days at the 2020 tournament, but that number will inevitably shrink, just like the number of employees.
Normally, Savros says 1,100 would work the event. "It is a unique set of circumstances that has created a situation none of us were prepared for," he explained.
Then there's the "Waste Not" program. Leftover food from the open goes to the local non-profit for those in need.
Savros says in 2019, the company donated 37,000 pounds of food. "About 22,000 of the 37,000 pounds came directly from the Phoenix open," he said.
What the open will look like next year is still hazy for vendors. Savros says the PGA and the city of Scottsdale are finalizing a plan.
"We're trying to just run scenarios. If 'A' occurs, we'll do 'B.' If 'C' occurs, then we'll do 'D,' so that way we're prepared for whatever comes our way or at least we'll have some sort of basic plan in place for the unexpected," Savros explained.