Bill Haas shocked the world with his recent victory at the Humana Challenge but the PGA Tour does not pause to smell the roses. It is on to the next tour stop. The Phoenix Open is in its 79th year and the host course has been the TPC at Scottsdale for over 25 years. Tiger Woods makes his return to competitive golf after a 13 year hiatus at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Players the likes of Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Phil Mickelson have been called champion after 72 holes of hard fought competition. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is home to the rowdiest fans in golf. If you don’t believe that just Google the 16th at TPC at Scottsdale to understand what I mean.
Dates: January 29 – February 1 2015
Course: TPC Scottsdale
Stats: Par 71, 7,216 Yards
Television Coverage (Times):
Thursday: Golf Channel 3 – 7 PM EST
Friday: Golf Channel 3 – 7 PM EST
Saturday: CBS 3 – 6 PM EST
Sunday: CBS 3 – 6 PM EST
Purse: $6.3 million total purse, $1.134 million winner share
The fifth hole at the TPC Scottsdale is when the Waste Management Phoenix Open really heats up. This 453 yard, Par-4 can go from a challenge to downright troubling if the prevailing winds kick up. There are no fancy dogleg right or left to worry about here. It is straight as an arrow but there is out-of-bounds down the right side for the entirety of the hole. Players with a safe tee shot are left with an approach to a large green protected by one left-side bunker. This hole is all about the wind and it will be blowing.
The middle of the round can doom a player’s tournament. Each day players will try to navigate the 11th and 12th holes. The 11th will play as a 469 yard, Par-4 with a lake down the left side just waiting for a miss. Approach shots will face two bunkers; one on the front left and another behind the green that is hidden from view. Four pars this week will help. The 12th is a 195 yard, Par-3 that presents a few challenges. Water down the right side can be avoided but will bring into play the bunkers left and behind the green. A deep green can be up to two clubs difference depending on placement.
The home hole at TPC Scottsdale is visually imposing and that is only backed up by the challenges laid out before the player’s. A challenging tee shot must avoid the sand on the right and the lake down the left. Player’s cannot rest if they properly navigate their tee shots. A deep bunker on the right and a challenging slope protect the green of a hoe that will reward execution with a victory.
Waste Management Phoenix Open Top Picks
The Waste Management Phoenix Open is home to some of the rowdiest fans in golf. It is always a great event that draws a solid field. Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch on Sunday at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
|Rickie Fowler||It looks like we are finally watching Rickie Fowler live up the potential that everyone believed was inside him. It is true that Rickie missed the cut here in his last couple of tries but he did finished tied for 13th in 2011 and second back in 2010. He finished his 2014 campaign with a tie for fourth at the BMW and a solo eighth at the Tour Championship. He has made two starts in the 2015 season with a tie for third at the HSBC Champions and a tie for sixth at the Hero World Challenge. He is rested and ready to go.
|Brandt Snedeker||He has a history here are the Waste Management Phoenix Open finishing ninth in 2008, eighth in 2011 and second in 2013 at 24 under par. We might have talked about a title in 2013 if Mickelson didn't have a historic week. If the previous FedEx Cup Champion can get his putter on track, which we all know he is capable of, he could post another 24 under week and that would probably be enough for victory. He missed the cut last week but does have two top-10s in four starts.|
|Phil Mickelson||He is the 2013 champion almost setting the PGA Tour tournament scoring record and the undisputed fan favorite. Phil played his college golf at Arizona State University and has won this event a grand total of three times including 2013, 2005 and 1996. He knocked the rust off last week with four straight rounds under par and a top-25 finish of -15.|