The PGA’s best arrive in Scottsdale this week for golf’s greatest show on grass.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open events begin Monday, January 28 with the Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies Pro-Am, as well as practice rounds for the professionals throughout Monday and Tuesday.
Through the first four tournaments of the 2013 PGA Tour, four different players walked away with a victory, proving no actual favorite for the upcoming WM Phoenix Open. Brian Gay, Dustin Johnson and Russell Henley are all on top of the FedEx Cup standings after victories in the first three tournaments. Charles Howell III, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker all have two top-ten finishes this season and look to capitalize this week at the TPC Scottsdale.
Scottsdale native and ASU alumnus Phil Mickelson is one of many locals attending the WM Phoenix Open, and is typically the local favorite. Scottsdale resident Aaron Baddeley, who won the tournament in 2007, Wildcat alumnus Ricky Barnes and former Sun Devil Joey Snyder III will also be competing in Scottsdale.
Last year’s Open ended in suspenseful fashion, as 25-year-old Kyle Stanley pulled off a victory late in the final round over Spencer Levin.
While whether Levin lost more than Stanley won is a fair assessment, Stanley redeemed himself after losing the tournament a week prior at Torrey Pines doing the same thing — falling apart late. Levin entered the final round that Sunday with a six-stroke lead, but finished with a three-over 75 to finish two strokes behind Stanley.
Not since Johnny Miller in 1975 has there been a repeat champion of the event, a trend Stanley hopes to reverse this year.
This provides hope for any of the 124 competitors going into Thursday. The Phoenix Open frequently sees underdogs atop the leaderboard, showing popularity isn’t everything in Scottsdale.
With the average score between 15- and 20-under par, the winner is typically on point from day one.
J.B. Holmes — who won the open in 2006 as a rookie and again in 2008 — may have the upper hand, as he has also recorded a top-five finish at TPC Scottsdale since 2008. Holmes was the first and only rookie to win the Phoenix Open. He is one victory away from being tied for the most wins alongside Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler and Mark Calcavecchia.
Along with Mickelson, other favorites like Bubba Watson, Ricky Fowler and Hunter Mahan will be teeing off in hopes to find their first win of the season, drawing large groups of fans following their every shot.
Last year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open drew a record crowd on Saturday of 173,210, setting both the PGA Tour single-day record.
Waste Management hopes to receive another record crowd in 2013, and to continue it’s goal to become the greenest show on grass.