Guest Editorial: Let’s Not Jeopardize A Birdie for Scottsdale

By Scottsdale Pinetop

For so many in the entertainment and event business, the cancellation or adaptation of hosting large-scale events is a recurring challenge as they navigate the uncharted waters of the pandemic. In any other normal year, the winter months would be the Valley’s peak tourism season. The social calendar filled with activities such as art walks, the Arabian Horse Show, Barrett-Jackson Car Auction and most notably the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

And while Barrett-Jackson recently made the decision to move its Scottsdale Auction from January to March, the Phoenix Open has decided to charge ahead in early February with public safety at the forefront. And we couldn’t be more supportive.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the Valley’s signature events and puts Scottsdale in an international spotlight as a top tourism and economic driver. Let’s not jeopardize that.

Like so many things in the pandemic, the Phoenix Open will look drastically different. With attendances normally over 200,000 in a single day, this year’s tournament will be scaled back by as much as 96 percent.

To re-enforce its commitment to safety, The Thunderbirds have also scaled back their famous 16th hole experience. The hole will now feature a single-story, open-air venue rather than its traditional indoor setting that surrounds the hole.

Just the 192-acre layout of TPC Scottsdale alone really puts the distance in social distancing. That’s four times the size of Scottsdale’s Fashion Square.

But it’s not just the luxury and entertainment of the Phoenix Open that’s so critical to Scottsdale. But also, its charitable endeavors that so many local nonprofits depend on. Last year’s Phoenix Open raised over $14 million to support charities. Without events like these for support, nonprofits and charities will continue to struggle to survive at a time when their services are needed most.

Safety is of the utmost importance. No one is disputing that. However, it would be a disservice to our entrepreneurs, our economic drivers and our community to not attempt to support events that are continuing to provide economic support to our city at a time when it needs it most while still abiding by the current restrictions and protocols.

If hundreds every day are still able to convene at places such as Scottsdale Fashion Square with just over 40 acres, why shouldn’t the Open be permitted the same opportunity?