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2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview

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BREAKING –> Trent and I will be in Phoenix Friday through Sunday. Giddy up.

It’s Waste Management week, boys and girls. The biggest shitshow on the PGA Tour by a MILE.

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This week will be no different. This type of shenanigans isn’t for every week in golf, but once a week it works. It just is what it is. You expect it, accept it, and deal with it.

Sing it Poults!

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The Event

Waste Management Phoenix Open - Round One

The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a rare jolt of acceptable debauchery in the game of golf.

Hundreds of thousands of folks turn out to just booze their faces off and watch golf. A rumored 800,000 may turn out this year. They make A LOT OF NOISE, and in a game traditionally laced with “QUITE PLEASE” signs and death sentences for unsilenced camera clicks, what goes on at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole (and 17 other holes) is a wild change of direction. It’s awesome.

Fans go nuts.

The fans go nuts and even the caddies used to.

This has since been barred.

Loudest, craziest hole on Tour? Tiger obviously aced it.

As did this dumb robot.

It’s buzzing today. Already.

History

John Daly - File Photos

The Phoenix Open (previously the Arizona Open and the FBR Open) is an oldie. Established 85 years ago, it’s long been one of the staples of the early part of the PGA Tour season. It’s seen a lot, but one of its more recent notable moments was Phil’s 59 & 1/2.

(which all adds to the lore of golf’s gatekeepers HATING Phil, when combined with this 62 & 1/2 at last year’s Open Championship)

Phil didn’t win the Open that year but did win the Waste Management in 1996, 2005 and 2013 (tying Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler, and Mark Calcavecchia as the only players to have won here three times).

Hideki Matsuyama is our defending champ after winning back-to-back years; he defeated Webb Simpson on the fourth playoff hole in 2017 and Rickie Fowler on the fourth playoff hole in 2016. These of course extended well into the first half of the Super Bowl, which sucks.

The Track

PGA TOUR - 2002 TPC Scottsdale

This place gets covered way more so for the MASSIVE crowds that lose their minds here (over 200k people per day) and huge grandstands than it does for its architecture or course features.

Built in 1987 by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, this 7,266-yard, par-71 has played host to the Phoenix Open for 30 years. Hideki and Webb got into a playoff at 17-under last year. Here’s the top 5.

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Notable Holes

12th, 192-yard par 3

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At 192, these guys hold a mid to long-iron with water hugging right (and also ready to accept some Riggsy snipe hooks left). Tough little one-shotter.

15th, 553-yard par 5

Waste Management Phoenix Open - Final Round

I don’t love every hole here, but I love the 15th. A unique risk-reward par 5, At 553 it leaves nearly everyone with a decision whether or not to give it a go. With water everywhere, it can be very, very punishing. And the 16th awaits.

16th, 163-yard par 3

18th, 442-yard par 4

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A manageable par 4 finisher, the 18th is a beauty. And it offers a birdie opportunity for some fireworks closing out the round.

Clubhouse

Waste Management Phoenix Open - Round One

Actually, kinda like this thing. Looks badass.

Clubhouse grade = 7.0.

The Field

Plenty of big names: Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Alex Noren, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Tony Finau.

Predictions

Winning Score

-18. Weather is supposed to be perfect.

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Winner

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I wrote this whole thing about how somebody else (above guy) was going to win and then I looked at the list again and realized how wrong I was. It’s so obvious.

Alex Noren should have won last week. He’ll win on Tour soon. Very soon.

Winner = Alex Noren.

Farmers Insurance Open - Final Round

Here are your betting odds.

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The Steven Bowditch Memorial DFL Award

Look, I didn’t want to do this. I’ve written about how now that Steven Bowditch isn’t really on Tour anymore, it’s damn near impossible to pick somebody for DFL.

But our boy Smylie threw himself onto the radar last week at Torrey Pines.

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I hope he proves me wrong more than anything. Perhaps I’ll become the king motivator here — Smylie Kaufman for DFL this week.

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Coverage

PGA TOUR - 2007 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am - Third Round

Thursday & Friday: 3-7 PM EST (Golf Channel)
Saturday & Sunday: 1:30-2:30 PM EST (Golf Channel); 3 PM to finish (CBS)

Final Thoughts

Never been to Phoenix. Can’t wait — anybody who’s going, see you out there.