The epidemic hasn’t been over yet, but the PGA Tour’s most crowded event – Phoenix Open – is allowed to pick up 5,000 people a day.

Phoenix Open 2021 at the TPC Scottsdale golf complex, Arizona, kicked off on January 4, now with a bonus fund of $ 7.3 million. The tournament marks the big-scale return of golf fans from June 2020 – when the PGA Tour rematched three months after being closed for Covid-19.

Compared to other events, even major in the annual PGA Tour calendar, the Phoenix Open is at the golf festival level. Because besides watching the peak golf with their own eyes, the audience was also immersed in the fun, partying atmosphere with beer and soft alcohol drinks.

For the past two years, the Phoenix Open Organizing Committee has not announced the field audience. But the most recent official figures – in 2018, more than 700,000 people entered TPC Scottsdale to watch and have fun during the event week. And each round, only hole 16, par3 stadium type is considered the noisiest hole in golf, attracting nearly 20,000 people.

Phoenix Open has a limited audience and must strictly adhere to epidemic prevention procedures.  Photo: USA Today

Phoenix Open has a limited audience and must strictly adhere to epidemic prevention procedures. Image: USA Today

At the end of November 2020, Thunderbirds – the organizer of the tournament – announced the plan to open the gate, expected 8,000 people per day. This is four times higher than the previously allowed Houston Open.

However, the US Department of Disease Control (CDC) recorded that Arizona, with 7.2 million people, is at the highest rate of infection per capita. Although hospitalization rates began to decline slowly from mid-January 2021, the number of emergency beds has not returned to normal levels as in September 2020. Meanwhile, the rate tested in Arizona is the last in the US.

As a result, the Phoenix Open is now only allowed 5,000 spectators per day. The number of viewing points in the courtyard went from 28 to two places – the assembly hall and the 16th hole. In this particular hole, there was only one floor from the three-story stands with about 2,000 seats spacing. Spectators entering the yard must wear masks, which are recommended to use antiseptic solutions regularly.

“Translation is back up in Arizona. From the 8,000 planned people in December, we have had to drastically reduce the number of projected numbers. But most of all, we try to find a way to pick up the field fans. with local and state government approval. And ever since we were planning, we have not received any opinion on the possibility of a closed fight. With the current layout, the tournament is like a huge outdoor party. ” Event chief Scott Jenkins explains. The TPC Scottdales covers more than 80 hectares.

Some of the stars attending the Phoenix Open are not afraid of fans coming back despite the epidemic.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy attended the tournament for the first time. “I expect them to show up. It is always great to handle the ball and get the reaction from the audience on the spot. I personally find it difficult to go on the pitch without the audience. It was like a trial session,” he said.

“This event, which normally has more than 250,000 penultimate spectators, now has about 5,000 people that they have to stand, sit in, and keep their distance. But I think that’s a good move. Sure, most players still feel safe, “commented Xander Schauffele. This golfer, infected with Covid-19 in December, is currently ranked fourth in the world (OWGR).

“We waited for the fans on the pitch for the joy that someone gathered in the last few holes and talked about handling the ball. We play for ourselves and the fans. If we call us entertainers, then The audience’s feedback is important, ”said Jon Rahm, second OWGR, stating personal feelings.

Last year, the Phoenix Open took place ahead of the global boom. At that time, the event generated more than $ 14 million for local charities. This money source is extracted from the revenue and amounts from the sponsor. The total charity campaign at the tournament reached more than 160 million.

Quoc Huy (according to Golf Digest)

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