Preview – PGA Tour – Waste Management Phoenix Open – TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course) – Scottsdale, Arizona –
This week’s PGA Tour stop is buzzing with anticipation as Tiger Woods makes his 2015 debut and fan-favorite Phil Mickelson also tees it up at TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Oh, and let us not forget, it’s also Super Bowl week for the National Football League, which is hosting its annual championship at nearby Glendale, Arizona featuring the New England Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks.
Since 1932, the PGA Tour has been hosting tournaments in the Phoenix area.
This week more than 500,000 people are expected on site during the week. A number of fans will pack TPC Scottsdale’s par-3 16th hole, which is now completely surrounded by stadium seating.
Three-time champion Phil Mickelson is playing this week and will certainly draw fans. He is making his 26th start here. He last won in 2013 when he flirted with a 59 – lipping out on the final hole.
Several young American stars are here this week including Jordan Spieth, a winner at the Hero World Challenge and Australian Open last fall, FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker, who was runner-up here in 2013.
Among the PGA Tour stars competing are Matt Kuchar and major champions Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley.
- Kevin Stadler (16-under) won for the first time in his PGA Tour career coming from two shots back of Bubba Watson on Sunday. Graham DeLaet, 65-65 on the weekend, was T-2. Hideki Matsuyama and Hunter Mahan finished T-4, while Charles Howell III, Harris English, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore and Brendan Steele logged Top 10s.
Golf Channel and NBC Sports shares the television coverage.
FANTASY: Mickelson attended nearby Arizona State and won here just a few seasons ago nearly shooting 59. A little rusty last week in Palm Springs, Phil should rebound with a strong showing here with previous victories in Phoenix. Consider Steele, who was in the mix last week in Palm Springs and managed a Top 10 here a season ago. Avoid Woods, who might still be shaking off some rust from the off-season. Select Moore this week with his history here. He has four Top 15s in his last six starts in Phoenix.
BETTORS: This week provides unique cross-sports betting opportunities with the Super Bowl and PGA Tour Sunday proposition wagers. For our money, consider Bubba at 14-to-1 odds. At Ladbrokes.com, he is the betting favorite. He was the 54-hole leader last year before a final-round 71. He opened 64-66 in 2014. Take Charley Hoffman, a champion in 2009. Hoffman won in Mexico in November and finished a shot back last week on tour.
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. Defending champion Stadler withdrew as he is recovering from a hand injury.
- Former Major League Baseball players Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. were among the celebrities in the Phoenix Open pro-am Wednesday. It also featured Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, who is coming off a national championship.
- Rory McIlroy and host of high-profile players are teeing it up at the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week. Rory made this tournament his first victory in 2009. He has five Top 10s in his last five appearances at this event.
- The LPGA Tour teed off its 2015 season Wednesday at the Coates Golf Championship in Florida. Stacy Lewis, Jessica Korda and Azahara Munoz are co-leaders after 66s in the opening round. Korda, who won the season-opener in the Bahamas last season, was bogey-free on her round, but only 1-under on the four par-5s.
- Woods has victories in six of last 18 season debuts including 12 Top 5s and 14 Top 10s. He struggled a bit in his own Hero World Challenge in December finishing near the bottom of the limited field.