In most years, a lot of people attend the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and they sprint to the par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale for a view of the best golfers.
As soon as the gates open, fans make a beeline for the grandstands and skyboxes surrounding the 16th, the rowdiest hole in all of professional golf. But the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open is different.
Yes, weeks before the tournament, workers still erected the temporary seating that holds energetic, alcohol-slamming fans who cheer good shots and mercilessly boo the bad ones. There just aren't many fans there this year.
Typically, the 16th hole capacity is "16,000-plus" fans, according to tournament officials and usually represents about 10 percent of the average daily crowd at the Phoenix Open. Several other prior estimates have put the figure at 20,000. That's a fluid number.
This year, though, 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open attendance is limited to only 5,000 total fans per day. There are fans in some hospitality and skyboxes, but they are more distanced and in open air. The grandstands are non-existent.
It's an unfortunate reality of the pandemic that there aren't many fans making noise at the 16th at TPC Scottsdale, but we anticipate normal rowdiness in 2022.