Farewell to John Bridger

Friday, May 29 marked John Bridger’s final day as Executive Director of The Thunderbirds, so we wanted to take a minute to recognize and honor our leader and fellow Thunderbird.

The 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open was John’s 18th and final tournament as Executive Director and we are proud to celebrate and acknowledge his meaningful role in the growth of one of the most exciting events on the PGA TOUR and the impact he has had on our organization and the community.

We could talk at length about what his hard work and fierce dedication has meant to The Thunderbirds, the staff, the golf world, our sponsors and charity partners and still not scratch the surface. John has made an incredible impact in so many different areas and touched so many lives while creating a legacy that The Thunderbirds will be proud to build upon.

PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan called John to the stage at the December 2019 PGA TOUR meetings to read his PGA Board retirement resolution and said, “When you’re in the presence of greatness, you recognize greatness”. John Bridger, you are “GREATNESS” personified.

Bridge, you are a loyal friend, a dedicated Thunderbird and a true leader. On behalf of all Active and Life Thunderbirds and the Thunderbird Staff, thank you for your service to this community and this organization. You have made us all proud!

“What can I say about John Bridger?  Kind, generous, cool under pressure…LEGEND, will be missed! The GOAT 🐐!”

— PGA TOUR pro Rickie Fowler

“I want to thank you John for all your service over the many decades that you’ve been involved with The Thunderbirds and the Phoenix Open.  I know you are moving on to the next chapter in your life and I wish you nothing but the best of luck to you and your family.”

—    PGA TOUR pro Phil Mickelson

“John has been such a valued part of the Phoenix Open these past 18 years. His dedication has resulted in incredible growth to a fantastic tournament. John, congratulations on a well-deserved retirement!”

— PGA TOUR pro Gary Woodland

“John has embodied the Thunderbird spirit as well as anyone who has ever served. His efforts to run a stand alone tournament experience and help it evolve into the envy of every TOUR stop is just a small sampling of the dedication he has given to the Phoenix Open and the community.”

— Jim Nantz, CBS Sports Broadcaster

“John Bridger has done an outstanding job leading The Thunderbirds and the Waste Management Phoenix Open to extraordinary heights. He is viewed as a leader amongst his peers and has played a meaningful role in the continued growth of the PGA TOUR. John has become a good friend over the years, and I wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

— Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner

“Through our partnership with The Thunderbirds, we have had the pleasure and privilege of working with John — and he embodies the phrase class act. The Waste Management Phoenix Open has become a source of great pride for our company, and John’s leadership has been a key ingredient in the secret sauce that makes this tournament so special and has helped make this not only the Greatest, but the Greenest Show on Grass.The entire team at Waste Management wishes John and his family well in all their future endeavors.”

— Jim Fish, Waste Management CEO and John Morris, Waste Management COO

“As a fellow Thunderbird, I am proud to have known John for 20 years. He has led the organization with honor, passion and extreme pride in the most humble and unassuming of ways. Thanks John for all that you have done for The Thunderbirds, the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the great state of Arizona, and thank you for building a legacy that will continue to grow thanks to your dedication.”

— Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona

“Thanks to John Bridger, the Waste Management Phoenix Open has become, without question, “The Greatest Show on Grass”. His leadership of the “The People’s Open,” has raised millions of dollars for local Arizona charities, including $14 million in 2020.  His winning personality and leadership will be missed.”

— Dan Quayle, Former United States Vice President and Honorary Thunderbird

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