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The First Look: WM Phoenix Open

5 Min Read

The First Look

    Written by Adam Stanley @adam_stanley

    A huge week is in store at the WM Phoenix Open, as a loaded field will play the TOUR’s most highly-attended event. And there’s a football game in town, as well.

    Scottie Scheffler looks to defend his title from last season – a win that started his Player of the Year campaign. The WM Phoenix Open was the first win of Scheffler’s career and jump-started a stretch that saw him win four times in six starts, including the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play to reach world No. 1 and his first major title at the Masters.

    Scottie Scheffler wins in a playoff at WM Phoenix Open

    FIELD NOTES: Rory McIlroy is making his first PGA TOUR start since winning THE CJ CUP in October. McIlroy has, however, played five times on the DP World Tour since that win and has notched results of T2-4-T4-4-1 – winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic on Jan. 28… Eight of the world’s top-10 golfers are all in the field including McIlroy, the second-ranked Scottie Scheffler and No. 3 Jon Rahm, an Arizona State alum… Rahm has won four of his last six starts combined on the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour, including twice already on TOUR this season. He currently leads the FedExCup standings… Scheffler is looking to become the first golfer since Hideki Matsuyama (2016-17) to repeat in Phoenix… World No. 8 Will Zalatoris is not playing with his manager, Allen Hobbs, saying “Will’s medical team has been clear from the beginning that he will need to take it slow as he ramps up his schedule. Unfortunately, that means he will miss the WM Phoenix Open but he hopes to be back next year. Will plans to play next week at The Genesis Invitational.”... Shane Lowry and Collin Morikawa are making their returns to TPC Scottsdale after not playing the last two years… The five sponsor exemptions include Rookie of the Year front-runner Taylor Montgomery, who has eight top-15s in 10 starts this season; PGA TOUR rookie Davis Thompson, who finished runner-up at The American Express; 19-year TOUR veteran Ricky Barnes; four-time TOUR winner Charley Hoffman and two-time WM Phoenix Open winner J.B. Holmes… World No. 5 Patrick Cantlay returns after a playoff loss to Scheffler last season. 2022 marked Cantlay’s Phoenix Open debut.

    World RankingFedExCup
    1. Rory McIlroy1. Jon Rahm
    2. Scottie Scheffler2. Max Homa
    3. Jon Rahm3. Keegan Bradley
    5. Patrick Cantlay4. Seamus Power
    6. Xander Schauffele5. Tom Kim
    7. Collin Morikawa6. Tony Finau
    9. Justin Thomas7. Si Woo Kim
    10. Matt Fitzpatrick8. Taylor Montgomery
    11. Viktor Hovland9. Brian Harman
    12. Max Homa11. Mackenzie Hughes

    FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.

    COURSE: TPC Scottsdale, par 71, 7,261 yards. Opened in 1986, the Jay Morrish/Tom Weiskopf design has been the host club of the WM Phoenix Open every year since 1987. This will mark the first event, however, since Weiskopf’s passing last August. Of note, the Scottsdale winter was cold and rainy which has led to a slow overseed establishment, according to the GCSAA.

    STORYLINES: This is the first full-field designated event of 2023… The purse is up to $20 million… One hundred and thirty-six golfers will tee it up (up from the usual 132). The final three spots will be determined by the Monday Qualifier… The area is hosting the Super Bowl hours after the final round of the of the WM Phoenix Open, the fourth time the two events have happened in town on the same weekend… Hideki Matsuyama looks to become the fourth golfer in TOUR history to win the WM Phoenix Open three times… The WM Phoenix Open was among four events that rounded out the TOUR’s slate of designated events with elevated purses this year. The RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo Championship, and Travelers Championship joined the majors and THE PLAYERS, Sentry Tournament of Champions, three player-hosted invitationals (Tiger Woods’ Genesis Invitational, the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament presented by Workday), the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play and the three FedExCup Playoffs events… Sam Ryder made a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th in the third round last season – the first since 2015 – and prompted one of the craziest fan celebrations of the year. It was Ryder’s first career ace on TOUR.

    72-HOLE RECORD: 256, Mark Calcavecchia (2001), Phil Mickelson (2013).

    18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Grant Waite (Round 4, 1996), Mark Calcavecchia (Round 2, 2001), Phil Mickelson (Round 2, 2005; Round 1, 2013).

    LAST TIME: Scottie Scheffler defeated Patrick Cantlay in a playoff for his first PGA TOUR title – and what a run he’s been on since then. Scheffler, who started the weekend nine shots back of the lead but fired a third-round 62 to zip into contention, made a birdie on the third playoff hole to top Cantlay, whose 11-foot birdie try fell short. It was Scheffler’s 71st PGA TOUR start. Scheffler was even par through the first nine holes of the final round but birdied four of his final six holes to shoot a final-round 67. Cantlay shot a Sunday 67 as well but in the end it was Scheffler – who would go on to win three more times en route to winning Player of the Year honors – who came out on top. Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, and Sahith Theegala finished tied for third and one shot out of the playoff. Theegala, who had the 54-hole lead but lost a share of the lead on the penultimate hole after driving it into the water, was looking to become the first sponsor exemption to win on TOUR since Martin Laird at the 2020 Shriners Children’s Open.


    Television: Thursday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel), Saturday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (CBS)

    PGA TOUR Live:

    Stream 1Main Feed: 9:15 a.m.-3 p.m. ETMain Feed: 9:15 a.m.-3 p.m. ETMain Feed: 12 p.m.-1 p.m. ETMain Feed: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET
    Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Group: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m.Featured Group: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
    Stream 2Marquee: 10:15 a.m.-3 p.m.Marquee: 10:15 a.m.-3 p.m.Marquee: 12:15 p.m.-1 p.m.Marquee: 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
    Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Group: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Group: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m.Featured Group: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
    Stream 3Featured Groups: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.Featured Groups: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.Featured Groups: 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m.Featured Groups: 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
    Featured Hole: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Hole: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Hole: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m.Featured Hole: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
    Stream 4Featured Holes: 9:45 a.m.-3 p.m.Featured Holes: 9:45 a.m.-3 p.m.Featured Holes: 12:30 p.m.-1 p.m.Featured Holes: 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
    Featured Hole: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Hole: 3 p.m.-7 p.m.Featured Hole: 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m.Featured Hole: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.

    PGA TOUR Live is available exclusively on ESPN+

    Radio: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.–8 p.m. ET. Saturday, 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and