Wichita Open returns this week, again welcoming fans

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Open returns this week and with it, so do fans. One of Kansas’ biggest golf tournaments was without fans last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, organizers say they are ready for their return.

“I’ve been doing this for 23 years. Last year, I felt like I didn’t do anything, but I also feel now, this community is one of the biggest supporters. that’s why we are number one,” Wichita Open Tournament Director Roy Turneer said.

Last year at the Wichita Open, fans weren’t able to partake in any part of the four-day event. Turner said that change was one of the toughest to deal with.

“I’ve been a professional athlete most of my life and last year showed me that sports are really nothing without fans,” he said. “The atmosphere they create, we had a tournament last year, but it felt like nobody knew about it.”

With the excitement come changes to the 2021 tournament. A few that fans can expect include electronic tickets and food only being served outside. The tournament is also working with the Sedgwick County Health Department to serve as a vaccination site for fans and even players.

One of the most notable changes for many fans will be on the famous 17th hole, where fans will return to the grandstands. Last year, the empty seats at the 17th hole was a significant absence when it comes to tournament excitement.

“Sitting in these stands on Sunday and seeing people, close to 2,000 people come down the fairway, I will cry a little bit,” Turner said. “That will let me knwo that we have done the job well. "

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