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Waste Management Phoenix Open to further reduce fan attendance in 2021

(Photo by Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is cutting back on spectators even more for the 2021 edition of the golf tournament.

The WMPO announced Wednesday it will be limiting fan attendance this year to 5,000 spectators per day, Wednesday through Sunday, due to the COVID-19 concerns in the state. Before the announcement, the tournament was expected to hold up to 8,000 fans per day, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig.

“The Thunderbirds continue to work closely with the PGA TOUR, local government and health officials in preparation to have limited fans at the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open,” 2021 WMPO tournament chairman Scott Jenkins said in a press release Wednesday. “Since returning to competition in June of 2020, the PGA TOUR has a successful track record of health and safety in the communities in which they play, including several events with ticketed spectators.

“We remain hopeful we can host an extremely limited number of socially distanced fans at ‘The People’s Open,’ and in light of the current COVID climate, we have decided to further reduce our attendance to fewer than 5,000 fans each day, Wednesday through Sunday.”

Jenkins added the WMPO will implement strict COVID-19 safety protocols that include mandatory wearing of masks throughout the tournament and thermal screening of every spectator upon entry.

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

The 86th playing of the event runs from Feb. 1-7.