The Waste Management Phoenix Open, which takes place this week at the par 71 TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, dates back to 1932 and has been held continuously since 1939. Since 1973, the tournament has taken place the same week as the Super Bowl. The tournament moved to the TPC Scottsdale layout beginning in 1987.
It is also the most attended tournament in professional golf, with over 700,000 spectators making their way through the turnstiles in 2018, the last year the organizers provided detailed figures. That included a raucous Saturday crowd of over 200,000.
This year, the Thunderbirds, the group responsible for staging the tournament, are planning a scaled-back event. They haven’t given any specifics, except that the usual multi-story, 20,000-seat enclosure at the par-3 16th hole will be cut back to a single level.
CBS, which generally broadcasts the Waste Management Phoenix Open, will defer to NBC per their contract because of the network’s Super Bowl commitment. The Golf Channel will carry the first two rounds and early action on Saturday and Sunday. NBC will pick up the action later on those days.
The defending champion is Webb Simpson, who defeated Tony Finau on the first sudden-death playoff hole. Both players finished 72 holes at 17-under 267.
It was the 2012 U.S. Open and 2018 Players Champion’s sixth TOUR victory. Simpson went on to pick up win number seven later in the season at the RBC Heritage.
Last week’s winner on TOUR was Patrick Reed, who fired a final-round 68 for a total of 14-under-par 274. Five players tied for second at 9-under-par 279.
Reed’s ninth career win wasn’t without controversy, as the 2018 Masters champion was criticized for his handling of an embedded ball on the 10th hole of Saturday’s third round.
Justin Thomas has been knocking on victory’s door all season, with four finishes inside the top 10 and two other ties for 12th in his six events played.
For the third week in a row, Jon Rahm, the second-ranked player in the world, tops the futures odds, this time at +600. Two weeks ago, he withdrew from The American Express with a sore back, but he rebounded nicely with a tie for seventh at the Farmers Insurance Open.
In five appearances at the Waste Management, Rahm hasn’t finished worse than a tie for 16th, with three top 10s and a tie for fifth. The former Arizona State golfer, who played collegiately just a few miles away, has three consecutive seventh-place ties dating back to the Masters. Prior to that finish, he was a runner-up at the ZOZO Championship @ Sherwood.
Justin Thomas, the third-ranked player on the Official World Golf Rankings, is next on the futures list at +750. The Alabama alum is teeing it up for the first time in almost a month since his third-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Thomas has been knocking on victory’s door all season, with four finishes inside the top 10 and two other ties for 12th in his six events played. Last year, the 13-time winner on TOUR finished one shot out of the playoff and also recorded a third place in 2019.
The rest of the top five in futures betting are Xander Schauffele (+800), Rory McIlroy (+1100) and defending champ Simpson (+1400). The Waste Management winner in 2017 and 2018, Hideki Matsuyama, is at +2200.
Other recent winners of the event include Rickie Fowler in 2019 (+5000), Gary Woodland in 2018 (+6600), and the 2015 winner Brooks Koepka (+5000), who is attempting to bounce back from three straight missed cuts.