The Arnold Palmer Invitational will be the first tournament with more than a few thousand spectators allowed to attend since the coronavirus pandemic led to no or few fans attending sporting events.
The March 4-7 event at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida, announced Wednesday that limited tickets will be available at up to 25% of capacity. The Arnold Palmer event was the last to be played in March 2020 with full spectators.
“Although the 2021 event will look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to providing a world-class experience in a safe environment for all involved,” said Joie Chitwood, the tournament director for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tickets will not be available for the practice rounds or pro-am, only the four tournament rounds. Multiday tickets will not be available, no shuttle service will be provided and all single-day tickets must be purchased in advance.
Since golf resumed in June following a 13-week shutdown due to the pandemic, nearly every tournament has been played without spectators. The Houston Open was the first domestic event to allow what was reported to be 2,000 spectators per day.
Some events have allowed a small number of corporate guests, usually fewer than 1,000 people. This week’s American Express Championship and the other tournaments in California will not have spectators.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open next month — traditionally the highest-attended event in golf, with some days surpassing 100,000 fans on site — will allow 5,000 per day. The total number at Arnold Palmer is expected to be more than that, perhaps as many as 8,000 per day.
Starting with the Arnold Palmer event, the Florida tournaments, including the Players Championship and Honda Classic, are expected to increase the number of people allowed on site.