WM Phoenix Open Gives Back and Goes Green

2015 Marks 80th Anniversary of Popular PGA Tour Event

This being the season of giving, it’s high time to recognize that one of our favored pastimes—watching incredibly talented golfers on the PGA Tour—is much more than glitz, glamour and shot-making prowess. Behind every big-name event are monumental efforts to fund and facilitate desperately needed charities, as well as shine a spotlight on best practices in environmental stewardship.

Take, for example, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a super-popular tour event played January 29-February 1 at the TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.

Last year alone, the event established several single-day attendance records including a tour-record 189,722 patrons on Saturday en route to a total gate of 563,000. Consequently, the 2014 event generated more than $7 million for dozens of Arizona-based charities, the third-highest total in the tournament’s history, to bring the all-time total to $93 million.

Event organizers fully expect that total to exceed $100 million in 2015, which also marks the 80th staging of the Phoenix Open.

In addition to being the PGA Tour’s most highly attended tournament, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is also recognized for sustainability initiatives implemented by its title sponsor—which just announced a 10-year sponsorship extension—and the event’s host organization, the Phoenix Thunderbirds.

“The Waste Management Phoenix Open has been a very successful partnership and we set the bar high for sustainability in sports,” said David Steiner, Waste Management president and CEO. “This title sponsorship has engaged our customers, elevated our brand, told our transformation story, and afforded us the real privilege of educating hundreds of thousands of individuals on ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle at home, in our communities and at our workplaces.”

Among WM’s sustainability initiatives is the Zero Waste Challenge, an award-winning and validated program that, in 2013 and 2014, diverted 100 percent of the tournament’s waste from area landfills. It achieved this astonishing feat by stationing 6,000 recycling and composting bins throughout the TPC Scottsdale tournament grounds.

The Zero Waste Challenge’s success was validated by the Council for Responsible Sport (receiving Gold Certification, the first awarded to a PGA Tour event) and UL Environment (Zero Waste to Landfill validation, the highest designation possible). Last October, the event also received the Sport for Environment Award at the Beyond Sport Summit Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Also, the event has become “green” by purchasing 100 percent of the event’s electrical power from renewable energy; Waste Management trucks that transport materials from the course are fueled by clean-burning natural gas; and precious resources are conserved by using grey water, collected from concession kitchens, to facilitate the onsite portable bathrooms.

That’s the way to run a world-class event—golf or not.


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Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.