Before TPC Scottsdale undergoes a facelift this summer, 132 golfers will get one more crack at what was the easiest par 71 during the 2013 season. Averaging 2.046 strokes under par (at 68.954), the host course of the Waste Management Phoenix Open satisfied the thirst for the largest attendance in golf yet again.
Defending champion Phil Mickelson opened his wire-to-wire title with a course-record 59-and-a-half -- OK, a course-record-tying 60 -- en route to matching the tournament record of 28-under 256. It's tied for third-lowest all-time aggregate on the PGA TOUR. He led the field in greens in regulation (63), proximity to the hole (27'6"), average distance of putts converted (106 feet, 3 inches) and par breakers (1 eagle, 29 birdies). Mickelson missed only one of 56 tries from seven feet and in. With nine birdies and seven pars on the quartet of par 3s, his scoring average on the par 3s landed at 2.44, tied for lowest of any event in the last five seasons.
Overall, TPC Scottsdale sat comfortably inside the top half in lowest percentage of fairways hit (61.53), but its greens-in-regulation clip of 71.23 percent was a 10-year high. Tack on a scrambling split of 62.88 percent -- highest in the 22-year history of data maintenance -- and it's no surprise that the 36-hole cut fell at 4-under 138.
Next year's edition of the Waste Management Phoenix Open will require a reset in expectations, but two par 4s have already been shortened for this week. The 11th hole is down 31 yards to 438, while No. 14 will play 33 yards shorter at 444. The net 64-yard loss is responsible for the drop to 7,152 yards on the scorecard. TPC Scottsdale had maxed out at 7,216 yards since 2004.
A slight cooling is expected as the tournament progresses. After seasonable highs in the mid-to-upper 70s all week, the target falls to 70 degrees by the weekend. Winds will not be an issue and no rain is expected.
Rank Player Comment Chris KIRK
No. 2 in FedExCup points. Rested since solo second at Waialae. Co-leads TOUR in par-5 scoring. Fifth in adjusted scoring. T24 here last year. Marc LEISHMAN
T2 at Torrey Pines was his fifth straight finish better than the previous. Top-11s in his last four. Ranks 22nd in strokes-gained putting. Graham DELAET
Fresh off his second career runner-up finish. No worse than a T7 in his last three starts. Top 10s in seven of his last 14 tournaments. Webb SIMPSON
T8 in last two trips (2011, 2012). A T23 at Humana two weeks ago ended a string of four straight top 10s. Ranks first in numerous stats. Scott STALLINGS
Farmers champ is simply a winner no matter results in recent past. Loves a shootout, too, evident in his previous victory in Mississippi. Keegan BRADLEY
A T16 at Torrey Pines extended his string of top 20s on the PGA TOUR to seven in a row. Top 25s in both starts at TPC Scottsdale. Gary WOODLAND The 54-hole leader at Torrey Pines faded to T10, but it was his seventh top 25 in 11 starts. Solid slate at the WMPO includes a T5 in 2011. Harris ENGLISH Third in FedExCup points and seventh in adjusted scoring. Three top 10s. Under par in 26 of 28 rounds this season. T15 at the 2012 WMPO. Ryan MOORE Top 25s in five of last six starts, including a solo 10th in his last at Kapalua. Survived last five cuts at the WMPO with three top 15s. Matt EVERY Top 15s in three of his last four starts, including both in 2014. Top 10s in both appearances at TPC Scottsdale (2010, 2013). Billy HORSCHEL His T23 at the Farmers was his fourth consecutive top 25 worldwide. Placed T11 in his WMPO debut last year; ranked third in the all-around. Charley HOFFMAN Three top 10s on the season, including the last two weeks. Eight top 10s in last 12 months. Just one top 25 at the WMPO (solo second, 2009). Ryan PALMER Product of converging trends with a reputation of being streaky. T8 at Waialae and solo second at the Humana. Solo fifth here last year. Phil MICKELSON This hinges on how back responds to treatment. The defending champ has three victories, 10 top 10s and sits first in all-time WMPO earnings. Hunter MAHAN The 2010 champion tied for 16th here last year. Settled for a T47 at last week's Farmers where he was efficient but didn't score.