By Nicholas Barker | January 17, 2021
The Waste Management Phoenix Open’s enormous crowds, the thunderous cheers and the countless festivities will have to wait another year due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19.
The event will welcome a limited number of fans this year.
Scaled-down structures are under construction around the TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole, which will be available to fans who purchase the package to attend the famous par-three hole. Tickets are $500 to have a headshot in primary visibility, and $250 to be in secondary visibility as a virtual fan.
Tournament Chairman Scott Jenkins knows the tournament will not be the same without the record crowds, but he still anticipates having excited fans at the tournament each day.
“As we continue dialogue with the PGA Tour and the city of Scottsdale, ultimately, we would like to land between 5,000 and 8,000 fans a day,” Jenkins says.
The maximum of 8,000 fans per day will not compare to the over 700,000 fans the tournament has seen in recent years, but Jenkins still believes the week of February 1 to February 7 will provide great moments.
“I still think it is going to be an amazing venue to watch golf,” Jenkins says. “The golf course is beautiful, and it is really going to serve two different purposes. If you want to watch some of the best golfers in the world, that opportunity is there. The 16th hole is going to be a single-deck structure, but it is still going to be the largest structure in golf. It is our goal to make it as fun and exciting as it usually is.”
Part of the annual golf tournament is the raucous Coors Birds Nest Concert Series, which features prominent singers and performers each year. However, due to COVID-19, it has been canceled.
“We decided we had enough on our plate with the golf tournament,” Jenkins says. “A super majority of the money comes from the golf tournament, so we decided to cancel Birds Nest, and focus on what we do best, which is the golf tournament.”
A majority of the hospitality suites and structures will not be built this year do the number of limited fans, and as of right now, fans are only can buy packages for the 16th hole. The packages range from $12,000 to $16,000. No word yet on general admission.
“It’s our intention to try and make it work with general admission,” Jenkins says.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open has been nothing but spectacular each year. From Tiger Woods’ ace at the 16th hole in 1997, to the robot hitting a hole-in-one on the 16th hole in 2016, the tournament has always had its incredible moments. The event has won tournament of the year four of the last six years, including 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. It has made itself a gold standard of professional golf.
“If you have watched golf for the last six months, you see how the PGA Tour and its TV partners have done an incredible job showing the game without fans,” Jenkins says. “It’s just going to be different. We get attendance of 30,000 to 40,000 people on Monday or Tuesday, where it is a practice round.
“It’s a giant 192-acre golf course where people are going to be spread out. It’s going to be a different vibe, but I think it will be a great experience for those that go.” ν
Waste Management Phoenix Open, 17020 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale, wmphoenixopen.com, various times Monday, February 1, to Sunday, February 7.