SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gov. Doug Ducey sat down with Arizona's Family to talk about how different the Waste Management Phoenix Open will look this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What would typically be an event with close to 600,000 people attending over seven days will be reduced to 5,000 fans at the TPC Scottsdale. The Phoenix Thunderbirds, of whom Ducey is a member and who organize the event, worked with the PGA and the Arizona Department of Health Services to keep everyone safe, Ducey says.
"If you think on a traditional Saturday, there will be 150,000 to 200,000 people and this is down to 5,000, you're talking about a couple percent of what the course can hold, so I think it will be responsible," Ducey said. "It's also within [A]DHS guidelines and working with the City of Scottsdale."
Last month Arizona's hospital leaders had urged Ducey to cancel the event because of the state's surge in cases and deaths. Today, the state's death toll from COVID-19 for the month of January hit 3,390, making it the deadliest month of the pandemic. More than 6,500 Arizonans have died from COVID-19 in the last two months, according to ADHS.
Ducey talked about the importance of how the WMPO showcases Arizona's economic development and how it brings business to the state.
"We have been working with the Phoenix Thunderbirds and the Waste Management Open to profile the state from an economic development standpoint," Ducey said.
The Phoenix Thunderbirds is a nonprofit organization that donates money raised through the WMPO to local charities that benefit Arizona families. Ducey says that is one of the reasons it was crucial for the WMPO to continue this year.
"All these dollars go to local women's and families' charities," Ducey said. "Many people participate not only for the fun of the event, but because they want to support those charities."
The WMPO, also called The Greatest Show on Grass, started on Monday and ends on Sunday, Feb. 7.