For those attending the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship this year, there will be a few changes. All the changes are being made in the best interest of the spectators, including parking, cellphones and walking along the course behind the golfers.
The tournament, with warm-ups, runs from Monday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, Feb. 26. It will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, in Dove Mountain.
In the past, spectators were asked to park near Interstate 10 and Tangerine Road, and then had a long shuttle ride to the course. This year, those attending will park near Dove Mountain Boulevard and Tangerine Road, allowing for a shorter commute on the shuttles. Another change to the rules for spectators is one that allows them to bring their cellphone into the tournament.
Gerald Goodman is the executive director for the golf tournament, and thinks the changes are a great improvement to the spectators’ enjoyment.
“It used to be a 30-minute bus ride. Now it’s 10 to 11 minutes, so that’s improved,” he said.
He said the cellphones will be allowed, but must be turned off, or on silent-mode. Visitors will be allowed to use their phones in designated talking areas.
As in the past, spectators attending on the Monday and Tuesday warm-up days are allowed to bring cameras and take pictures of the golfers. The remaining days of the tournament, people will not be allowed to bring cameras, and are not allowed to take photos or videos with their cellphones.
“Cellphones have been an initiative all around the PGA Tour. For years there have been no cellphones allowed,” Goodman said. “I guess you could say the PGA Tour is growing.”
Another initiative takes place during the final round on Sunday, Feb. 26.
“At 1 p.m., when the two final golfers tee off, after they walk onto the fairway, we are going to drop the ropes and visitors will be able to follow the leaders, literally, all around the golf course in the fairways,” Goodman said.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.worldgolfchampionships.com or they can be purchased at any Fry’s Grocery Store.
Goodman said with the tickets bought at Fry’s, there will not be any additional fees and the money goes directly to the Tucson Conquistadores.
It is uncertain if the tournament will return to Marana next year. Accenture has renewed its contract with the PGA Tour for an additional two years, but that does not guarantee the tournament will return.
“The PGA Tour is excited to be here and motivated to stay, and we’re motivated to make this 2012 the best golf tournament we can,” Goodman said. “We would love for the community to continue its support and to come out. Let’s sell this thing out.”
If you go
What: World Golf Championships
Accenture Match Play Championship
Where: Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain
When: Feb. 20-26