ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Walmart NW Arkansas Tournament kicks off Friday (August 28) and like many other events, it won’t look the same as it has in the past.
With no spectators allowed inside the tournament due to the pandemic, organizers say it’s a good opportunity to get back to the root of what it’s all about; the love of the game.
Staff have been preparing for months to make the tournament the best it can be. Everything from the food options to sanitizing and cleaning practices have been adjusted due to the pandemic.
While having no spectators isn’t ideal for staff and players, tournament director, Annye DeGrand hopes that won’t be the case next year, which happens to be the 15th anniversary of the tournament.
“Still feels like it’s a long way away next June,” DeGrand said. “But we’re hopeful that we can really celebrate in a big, meaningful way, bring the community together as we always typically do for the tournament. We just really hope we can return to some sense of normalcy.”
Every year, the tournament is an exciting time for Northwest Arkansas and this time it’s a special year for the Razorback women’s golf team.
Four alumni and three current Razorbacks will be playing in the tournament. This is the most that have been on the course competing at once since the tournament started in 2007.
Head coach of the Razorback women’s golf team, Shauna Taylor said it’s a good way for players to measure their skills against some of the best in the world and lets them see what they need to work on in order to make it pro in the future.
“I always say this is a special place,” Taylor said. “To have this event in town to showcase Northwest Arkansas, our community, our university; the support that we have is a game changer.
This year, the purse was raised by $300,000. Walmart reps say this is a way to elevate the women’s program to align with the men’s.