CLEVELAND, Ohio – The PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, where players and fans annually put on quite a show, unfolds today through Sunday at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.
Among those competing: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
Spieth has won eight PGA Tour titles, including two majors. He is ranked sixth in the world.
Thomas, Spieth’s close friend, is seeking to win his third straight PGA Tour start. In five official starts in the 2016-17 season, he has finished T8, 1, T23, 1 and 1. The two most recent victories came on the Hawaii swing. Thomas is ranked eighth in the world.
Matsuyama, defending champion at Waste Management, is ranked fifth in the world.
Rahm won the Farmers Insurance Open last week in California.
Fowler, world No. 14, is one of the game’s most popular players.
Watson and Mickelson have won a combined five Masters and own tremendous resumes at TPC Scottsdale.
Players are extra-motivated at this event because of huge galleries that take pride in making noise. The par-3 16th hole, in particular, is famous for creating a football-type atmosphere in a stadium setting.
WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
Site: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Course: TPC Scottsdale. Yardage: 7, 216. Par: 71.
Purse: $6.7 million (First place: $1, 206, 000).
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3-7 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS Sports).
Defending champion: Hideki Matsuyama.
Last week: Jon Rahm won the Farmers Insurance Open.
Notes: Justin Thomas is playing for the first time since sweeping the Hawaii events. The last player to win three consecutive PGA Tour events was Rory McIlroy in 2014 (British Open, Bridgestone Invitational, PGA Championship). Jordan Spieth at No. 5 is the highest-ranked player in the field. Rickie Fowler last year had a two-shot lead with two holes to play until losing to Matsuyama in a playoff. Fowler, coming off a victory in Abu Dhabi, has not won anywhere in the world since then. Steve Stricker makes his 2017 debut. He turns 50 in three weeks. Harris English is playing for the last time before getting married next week. The tournament last year reported having 618, 364 fans for the week. Phil Mickelson has another opportunity to become the first four-time winner of the event. A victory also would give Mickelson seven victories in Arizona, breaking a tie with Johnny Miller. Mickelson (twice), Mark Calcavecchia and Grant Waite hold the course record of 60. Asked if he would be willing to allow caddie races on the 16th hole that the PGA Tour banned, Commissioner Jay Monahan said he “doesn’t expect to see any change on that front.”