SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The Chairman of the Waste Management Phoenix Open -- one of Arizona's most popular spring events -- said Wednesday that the 2021 tournament would look and feel different than years past because of the health challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, but that it is "their every intention to have fans" at the weeklong event, which is currently scheduled for Feb. 1-7, 2021.
"Over the last five months, the world has been rocked by unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the hosts of one of the leading community-driven sporting events in the world, The Thunderbirds are doing everything in our power to continue to lead community involvement through the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the hundreds of charities that we support," Chairman Scott Jenkins said in a letter posted on the tournament's website.
As for the 2021 tournament, which is held at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Jenkins said most of the hospitality venues, such as the Greenkeeper's Suite, Bay Club, and the suites surrounding the popular 16th Hole, would not be constructed, a project that typically begins in September and October, the letter said. The tournament may also allow fewer fans in, but specifics have not yet been determined.
Also, a final decision regarding the Birds Nest, the adults-only outdoor venue that hosts nightly concerts, has not yet been made, according to Ryan Woodcock, director of communications for the tournament. There is a chance that some of the hospitality venues will be allowed by the time the tournament begins, but that will be dependent on the current COVID-19 environment.
"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," Jenkins said.
"I would just like to say thank you to our community for your ongoing support. We are truly fortunate to live in the Valley of the Sun and you are the reason our organization is able support our local charities, which is now as critical as ever," he ended his letter.