Mickelson-Fowler-DJ among featured at WM PhoenixFebruary 01, 2012
Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Granted, the largest and loudest gallery at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is always situated in the stands that circle the perimeter of the par-3 16th green.
Fans who enjoy getting out and walking 18 holes with their favorite players, though, are in for a treat on Thursday and Friday.
Tee times Tee times for Mickelson-Fowler-Johnson are below. Click here for all tee times
The 23-year-old Fowler, whose tastes tend toward lime green and bright orange, will undoubtedly be the most colorful of the trio. But all three share a similar freewheeling approach to the game -- Johnson ranked third in driving distance on TOUR last year while Mickelson and Fowler were 22nd and 25th, respectively -- so spectating should be fun.
Mickelson has added star appeal in Scottsdale, too. That's because the man who arguably signs more autographs than anyone on TOUR graduated from nearby Arizona State and lived in the area for 12 years. Not to mention he won at Phoenix twice, finished second in 2008 and has posted a total of nine top-10s in 23 starts, breaking 70 in a phenomenal 40 of his 78 rounds.
For his efforts, Mickelson, who is playing in his 23rd Waste Management Phoenix Open, has won more than $2.5 million in the event. His career-low 60 also came at TPC Scottsdale during the second round of the tournament in 2005, and he has more drives in excess of 300 yards since 2003 than anyone else in the field (257 of 448).
Mickelson is off to an unusually slow start in 2012, though. He tied for 49th at the Humana Challenge despite posting three rounds in the 60s and missed just his fifth cut at Torrey Pines last week after opening with a 77.
Fowler, meanwhile, is making his fourth start in Phoenix this week. He was a runner-up in 2010 and has played eight straight sub-par rounds at TPC Scottsdale, putting him a combined 28 under during that stretch.
Fowler's 2012 debut came last week at Torrey Pines. He opened with a 68 and ended up in a solid tie for 13th.
Johnson, who is 27, has only played twice at TPC Scottsdale with last year's tie for 29th his best finish. He's won five times over the last four years, though, and finished a career-best fourth in the FedExCup last year.
As has been the case with Mickelson, the 2012 season has been something of a mixed bag for Johnson. He had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in November and missed the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, as a result. Then he had to withdraw a week later in his 2012 debut at the Humana Challenge with a back strain.
Mickelson-Fowler-Johnson tee times Round 1
8:06 a.m. ET
12:16 p.m. ET
More featured groups Webb Simpson-Keegan Bradley-Jarrod Lyle
Round 1: 8:15 a.m. ET on No. 10
Round 2: 12:25 p.m. ET on No. 1
Simpson opened his 2012 with a T3 at Hyundai while Bradley has a season-best of T13 at Sony. Lyle, a late addition after Nick Watney withdrew to illness, will get some love -- he aced No. 16 last year. Brandt Snedeker-Mark Wilson-Johnson Wagner
Round 1: 12:16 p.m ET on No. 1
Round 2: 8:06 a.m. ET on No. 10
Want to see three happy players? Here's three of the four tournament winners in 2012 -- Wagner (Sony Open in Hawaii), Wilson (Humana Challenge) and Snedeker (Farmers Insurance Open).
The back feels fine now, though, and Johnson played all four rounds at the Farmers Insurance Open where he tied for 43rd.