OK, boomer. If you haven't already, get over it.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open isn't for everyone, but it's not the most-attended golf tournament on the planet by accident. Part Wrigley Field bleachers, part music fest, part spring break and all things green, it's an event to see and at which to be seen. Just as importantly, all of the 132 golfers in the field either know what to expect or can't wait to experience it. They commit by choice.
The vibe is so healthy that when the golf is done for the day and the sky over the Valley of the Sun turns dark, it can feel like just as many people are entering the grounds around TPC Scottsdale as are headed out. With no changes to the Stadium Course and with exceptional weather guaranteed throughout the tournament, the Greatest Show on Grass will live up to its billing.
Scroll past the projected contenders for how the course plays, Rickie Fowler's formula for finally connecting for victory here last year, and more.
POWER RANKINGS: WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN
Cameron Smith, Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Viktor Hovland and two-time champion J.B. Holmes (2006, 2008) will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
That Fowler is the defending champion pretty much bottles everything you need to know about the tournament into one player. Talented, popular, good-looking and, above everything else, thoughtful. In fact, when he broke down after losing the playoff to Hideki Matsuyama in 2016, his emotional reaction reminded everyone that there's much more at stake on-site than remembering when the next show begins at the Birds Nest.
As noted at the top, the first element to success at TPC Scottsdale is acceptance. The buzz around the property blends into the background like a conversation on the other end of the room at a party. Then, of course, the 16th hole, a/k/a "The Coliseum", is an event in and of itself. The entirely surrounded par 3 measures just 163 yards, but it's unique to every other hole on the PGA TOUR and every golfer hopes to have four swings off the tee; again, by choice.
On the whole, TPC Scottsdale is a straightforward test and it's as fun as it is fair. With TifEagle bermuda greens averaging over 7,000 square feet, an aggressive approach is encouraged off the tee and into most targets. While distance presents as more valuable than accuracy, Fowler ranked T3 in fairways hit a year ago by finding 39 of 56 and just 27th in distance of all drives. In other words, he was long enough and straighter than most, so that should define the champion.
Of course, the work isn’t done there. Fowler paid off his tee ball by finishing T13 in greens in regulation and first in converting those chances into par breakers. He also paced the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. Greens are prepped to run 12 feet on the Stimpmeter.
This is the sixth edition of Tom Weiskopf's redesign of the Stadium Course. As he predicted before its debut, every champion has landed from 14-under (Matsuyama, 2016) through 18-under-par (Gary Woodland, 2018). With no modifications since last year, the par-71 measuring 7,261 yards simply is a year older, so there's no reason to expect a different result this week.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Fantasy Insider
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.