Hideki Matusyama is looking to make it three wins in a row in the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week. The Japanese star faces a field that includes Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview, TV Times
It’s one of the PGA Tour’s most anticipated events this week as the players and over 600,000 spectators will descend on Scottsdale in Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open where Hideki Matsuyama is defending champion.
First contested in 1932, there have been some notable winners of this tournament over the years – Arnold Palmer won three in a row in the early 1960s, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Sandy Lyle have also taken the title.
Last year, Hideki Matsuyama won for a second year in a row. Matsuyama came through a playoff against Webb Simpson, winning at the fourth extra hole.
Matsuyama is aiming to become the first player to win a tournament three years in a row on the PGA Tour since Steve Stricker achieved that feat in the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011.
The Japanese player has a tremendous record in this event – He has finished no worse than fourth in four starts.
Phil Mickelson is a favourite with the fans in this tournament. He attended Arizona State university and has won this event on three occasions. This will be his 29th start in the competition. He has played every instalment of the tournament since 1991.
This is the best-attended event in world golf. Last year 655,434 made their way through the gates during the course of the week. Many of the fans head for the cauldron like amphitheatre surrounding the par-3 16th. It’s been the scene of many dramatic moments in the past.
When Tiger Woods aced the hole in 1997 the cheer could be heard 10 miles away. At the other end of the spectrum, Justin Leonard was not popular when he gave the crowd the finger after they taunted him for a poor shot.
The weather looks fine – warm and sunny all four days.
Venue: TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
Date: Feb 1-4
Course stats: par 71, 7,266 yards
Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama (-17)
Thursday 1 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm
Friday 2 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm
Saturday 3 – Sky Sports Golf from 7pm
Sunday 4 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Waste Management Phoenix Open?
Why not buy a Now TV pass? For £6.99 you can get a day pass, if you just wish to watch one of the rounds, or for just £10.99 you can get a week pass to see the whole tournament.
Hideki Matsuyama – It’s impossible to look past the two-time defending champion. He obviously has a great record in the event and loves the course and he is on good form coming into the event with a top-five in Hawaii and a T12th place finish last week at Torrey Pines.
Jon Rahm – The Spaniard is a graduate of Arizona State University and so receives great support in this event. He was tied fifth in the event as an amateur in 2015. He won the recent Career Builder challenge.
Ryan Palmer – Lost out in a playoff for the Farmers Insurance, Palmer will look to continue that form in Scottsdale. He was tied second in the WMPO in 2015.
Key hole: 16th. This par-3 can play anywhere from 115 to 180 yards, into a green that will be surrounded with thousands of fans, including many Arizona State university students, cheering good shots and booing poor ones.
Skills required: Concentration. With the huge throngs of boisterous fans swarming along the edges of the fairways it’s easy to become distracted. The man who wins will either harness the crowd’s energy or have his blinkers firmly secured.
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