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Preview: PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open

Preview – PGA Tour – Waste Management Phoenix Open – TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course) – Scottsdale, Arizona –

This week’s PGA Tour stop is one of the most popular for fans as the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale plays host to the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Since 1932, the tour has been playing in the Phoenix area. This week more than 500,000 people are expected on site during the week. A number of those fans will pack TPC Scottsdale’s par-3 16th hole, which is now completely surrounded by stadium seating.

Phil Mickelson is the headliner after last year’s triumph, but he was a question mark all week after withdrawing after the second round last week with a back injury. The three-time champion at this event is going to give it a go.

The tournament features some international flavor with Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter in the field. Also competing are Canada’s Graham DeLaet and Australia’s Marc Leishman – both finished T-2 last week at the Humana Challenge.

Major champions (Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson) and recent contenders on tour are competing this week. Ryan Moore, Harris English and Chris Kirk – both 2014 wrap-around season winners – are competing along with Scott Stallings, who outlasted the Sunday drama to hoist the trophy last week.

2013 Results:

  • Mickelson (28-under) opened with a 60 just missing a 59 with a lip-out on his final hole of round one. He went on to a wire-to-wire victory. He tied the 72-hole record with his week’s effort. Brandt Snedeker was runner-up followed by Scott Piercy, Moore and Ryan Palmer.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports shares the television coverage.

FANTASY: Consider Kirk in this spot as he is second in the FedEx Cup standings and is among the tour leaders in par-5 scoring. He was runner-up in Hawaii after a victory in November at The McGladrey.  Moore plays well here in the desert and won the CIMB Classic in October. He has Top 25 efforts in his last six worldwide starts. English’s power can pay off in Phoenix and he rides a streak of 26 of 28 rounds under par this season include this week.

BETTORS: Leishman (40-to-1 odds at Ladbrokes.com) is a nice selection here. The Aussie was runner-up last week and T-5 at the Sony. The overall betting favorite is Mickelson (12-1), but his injury makes him a risky wager. Simpson is 16-1 and leads the tour in Scrambling. But, play Gary Woodland (33-1) who was the 54-hole leader last week.

Other Golf News:

  • The last six of seven editions of the Waste Management Phoenix Open have been decided in playoffs or by just one stroke.
  • The Golf Channel’s reality golf show “Big Break” returns with its 21st season at Big Break Florida on Feb. 24. The all-female cast is competing for a playing spot at the LPGA Tour’s Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in June among other prizes.
  • Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are both on the first page of the leader board at the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic after 18 holes.
  • With the unrest in Thailand, the LPGA Tour is reportedly weighing the options regarding its scheduled stop Feb. 20-23 in the country. The tour visits Australia Feb. 13-16 for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.