This year’s Phoenix Open presented by Waste Management is already off to a roaring start. The event, which has quickly come to be known as one of the biggest PGA golfing events in the country began on Monday and runs through this Sunday. Each year, about 700,000 people attend the Phoenix Open, making it the best attended golf tournament in the world and earning it the nickname, ‘The Greatest Show on Grass.’ The event is also heavily associated with heavy partying and other festivities.
For eight years in a row the WMPO has set a record for money raised for charity. Last year’s Open raised a grand total of $13.2 million for charity.
The first round of play began on Thursday. As of yesterday, Wyndham Clark was in the lead with a phenomenal performance posting a score of -10. With his 10 under par 61 score, Wyndham nearly tied the TPC Scottsdale record. Clark’s score places him among the lowest scores ever for a first round at TPC Scottsdale. As Justin Ray of The 15th Club noted, two of the top 5 lowest round 1 scores went onto to win the tournament. Time will tell if Clark goes on to become the 3rd.
Lowest opening rounds at TPC Scottsdale:
’13 Mickelson – 60 (Won)
’20 Clark – 61 (?)
’97 Steve Jones – 62 (Won)
’03 Harrison Frazar – 62 (T-3)
’10 Camilo Villegas – 62 (T-8)
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) January 31, 2020
Right behind him on the scoreboard are; J.B. Holmes, Ben An, Sungjae Im, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas. At the moment, insiders still say that the tournament is Rahm and Thomas’s to lose. The odds currently remain in their favor with Rahm at 11-2 and Thomas at 9-1. Right behind them are Webb Simpson (11-1), Rickie Fowler (12-1) and Hideki Matsuyama (14-1) according to Sal Johnson of Sports Line. The four golfers; Martin Laird, Andrew Putnam, Rory Sabbatini, and Vaughn Taylor face the longest odds each at a 100-1 chance of winning per Johnson’s analysis. Johnson’s record of predictions is strong as he nailed both the season-ending Tour Championship as well as the 2017 Phoenix Open. After the first day of play, 4 players are tied at -6 and 5 more are tied at -5, making the tournament very much still anyone’s game.
Competitor Tony Finau joined several of his fellow golfers in honoring the late Kobe Bryant who tragically died in a helicopter accident this past weekend. To honor Bryant, Finau sported a pair of custom purple and gold golf shoes and sported a Kobe jersey as hit the 16th hole.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 30, 2020
In another tribute to a late professional athlete, Jon Rahm came out donning shoes inspired by former Arizona State and NFL player Pat Tillman who left his football career to enlist in the US Military. Speaking on the decision Rahm said, “As an ASU Sun Devil … you got to learn and you basically get imprinted what Pat Tillman meant. He was a great example and role model as a student-athlete and then having his life figured out, basically being an NFL player decided to go to war, joined the Army and defend the country.”
In addition to the golf festivities, the Phoenix Open is also hosting a medley of celebrities including live performances at the Coors Light Bird’s Nest Entertainment Tent. The first performance of the event took place on Wednesday night as country artist Miranda Lambert took the stage along with special guest Cody Johnson. The first day of play was capped by performances by rapper G-Eazy and guest Warren G. Friday night’s events, presented by Ford, include performances from Dierks Bentley and Austin Burke. The final show of the event will feature a performance by Norweigien DJ Kygo, featuring a guest performance by the New Jersey rock band, Arizona.
Tuesday’s events included a series of motivational speeches from PGA tour professionals, a junior golf clinic presented by PING. The San Tan Ford Special Olympics putting challenge also took place on Tuesday featuring appearances by Special Olympian athletes, celebrities, other sports stars as well as business leaders from around the area. Thus far the Open is off to a strong start as the tournament is now underway.
Saturday marks the third round of the tournament. The theme of the day is an ‘all day green out,’ to draw attention to and support the green environmentally friendly efforts of the tournament. All tournament goers are encouraged to wear green to the event. The 4th and final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open is this Sunday starting at 9:00 am.
See the video below for full highlights from round 1.