Phoenix Open trims fans amid Arizona’s COVID-19 surge

There will be fewer spectators than originally planned for at the Waste Management Phoenix Open next month, but tournament organizers remained “confident” Wednesday that there would be a spectator presence at TPC Scottsdale.

Tournament chairman Scott Jenkins said attendance will be limited to fewer than 5,000 people per day for the tournament, which is scheduled for Feb. 4-7. Originally, organizers had hoped to have as many as 8,000 fans on site, but a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona caused the tournament to rethink that number.



According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have been 641,729 cases of COVID-19 and 10,673 COVID-related deaths as of Wednesday in Arizona, which set a record of 11,424 new cases on Jan. 4.

In addition to fewer spectators, the tournament will implement several COVID-19 protocols, including temperature checks before entering the grounds and mandatory mask wearing.

Phoenix Open, 16th hole, Bubba Watson
The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course. (Rob Schumacher/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK
Waste Mangement Phoenix Open 2020)

“The expansive, 192-acre, open-aired layout of TPC Scottsdale is conducive to social distancing, and combined with stringent Covid safety protocols in place, (we) are confident we can conduct a safe and responsible tournament in February,” Jenkins said.

Although the tournament stopped reporting attendance figures in 2019, the 2018 edition of the Phoenix Open exceeded 719,000 fans over the course of the week-long event.



–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)