Gary Woodland defends the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week on the PGA Tour. Huge galleries will watch the action at TPC Scottsdale.
Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview, TV Times
It’s one of the PGA Tour’s most anticipated events this week as the players and likely over 600,000 spectators will descend on Scottsdale in Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Four of the world’s top-five are playing in Saudi Arabia this week but a strong field will be in Scottsdale nonetheless. Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau will all start.
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, Gary Woodland won for the first time in over four years on the PGA Tour. He birdied three of his last four holes to get into a playoff with Chez Reavie which he won at the first extra hole.
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 30th start in the competition. He has played every instalment of the tournament since 1991.
Hideki Matsuyama will be looking to claim a third win in the event. He won back to back in 2016 and 2017.
This is the best-attended event in world golf. Hundreds of thousands make 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 (above.) 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 could be a little un-desert like towards the second half of the tournament; rain and wind could be a factor.
Venue: TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona
Date: Jan 31 – Feb 3
Course stats: par 71, 7,266 yards
Defending champion: Gary Woodland (-18)
How to watch the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Thursday 31 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm
Friday 1 – Sky Sports Golf from 8pm and Sky Sports Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday 2 – Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Sunday 3 Sky Sports Golf from 6pm
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Waste Management Phoenix Open?
Players to watch:
Hideki Matsuyama – The Japanese star won twice in a row, 2016 and 2017 but he was curtailed in his bid for three in a row by an injury. He was tied third last week at Torrey Pines.
Phil Mickelson – Three times a winner, Mickelson makes his 30th start. He’s been on good form; tied for second in the recent Desert Classic.
Xander Schauffele – One of the hottest players in world golf over the last number of months, the American has surged to seventh on the Official World Golf Ranking. He clearly likes this track as he was just two off the lead through three rounds last season.
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.