Waste Management Phoenix Open adding more space, focusing on community and charity

Chance Cozby, tournament chairman of the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, is gearing up for this year’s tournament, which is expected to be bigger and more popular than ever before.

The tournament is hosted by the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the Thunderbirds, a philanthropic group founded in 1937, at the TPC Scottsdale golf course.

“Here we are in January, and it’s going to be probably 65 [degrees] and sunny today, so golf drives our state in many, many ways,” Cozby said, standing near the 18th hole at TPC Scottsdale. “I think it’s fitting that we have the biggest golf event on the PGA Tour, and it’s a great way for us and our partner, Waste Management, to showcase our state and to showcase our town and what we can do.”

There are about 460 private viewing suites at TPC Scottsdale, and the property is still growing, Cozby said. Improvements will be made to the structure at the 16th hole, while the Cove club at hole 17 will see 11 new suites for 2019.

“Our big growth on the hospitality side is going to be on the 18th hole,” Cozby said. “We used to have a 30-suite, single-story structure on the right side of 18. This year, we’re going to have a double-decker, 60-suite structure with a new look, a new feel and new branding, and it’s really going to be one of the highlights of the year.”

The open drew more than 700,000 visitors to the Valley in 2018, bringing a “significant” economic impact of more than $390 million to the state, Cozby said.

“We partner with Waste Management, and we partner with the Ak-Chin Indian Community as our core sponsors, and last year we gave away over $12.2 million in charity,” Cozby said. “That’s the number one PGA Tour event, from a charitable giving standpoint.”

Charitable giving from the tournament is primarily directed at organizations that help women and children in need, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Cozby said. That’s “what the Thunderbirds do” and has always been the core focus of the Phoenix Open, he said.

“Everything we do at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is driven towards helping this community,” Cozby said. “Our goal is to grow the charity number every single year.”

The Waste Management Phoenix Open begins at 9:30 a.m. on January 28 and runs through February 3 with other events along the way, including a celebrity pro-am golf tournament and the four-day Birds Nest music festival. General admission is free to the public for the first two days of the tournament — January 28 and 29 — as part of “Ford Free Days,” provided by Arizona Ford Dealers.

Last year’s tournament received the highest international award from Scottsdale-based GEO Foundation for sustainability in golf for its efforts to “balance environmental impacts, conserve natural resources and benefit the local community,” according to a press release.

“We put on the greenest show on grass, the greatest show on grass, and why wouldn’t you want to come to Scottsdale, Arizona — Phoenix, Arizona — and play golf?” Cozby asked.

Graham Bosch

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