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|Established||1932, 85 years ago|
|Length||7,266 yards (6,644 m)|
|Organized by||The Thunderbirds|
|Prize fund||$6.7 million|
|Tournament record score|
|Aggregate||256 Mark Calcavecchia (2001)
256 Phil Mickelson (2013)
|To par||−28 Mark Calcavecchia (2001)
−28 Phil Mickelson (2013)
The Phoenix Open (known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open for title sponsorship reasons) is a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, held in late January/early February at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The tournament was originally the Arizona Open, but was known for most of its history as the Phoenix Open until the investment bank Friedman Billings Ramsey became the title sponsor in October 2003, when it was known as the FBR Open. The event's relaxed atmosphere, raucous by the standards of professional golf, has earned it the nickname “The Greatest Show on Grass” and made it one of the most popular events on the PGA Tour calendar.
The Phoenix Open began 85 years ago in 1932 but was discontinued after the 1935 tournament. The rebirth of the Phoenix Open came in 1939 when Bob Goldwater, Sr. convinced fellow Thunderbirds to help run the event. The Thunderbirds, a prominent civic organization in Phoenix, were not as enthusiastic about running the event as he was, leaving Goldwater, Sr. to do most of the work in getting a golf open started.
The event was played at the Phoenix Country Club in Phoenix ( both in its earlier incarnations and after Goldwater resuscitated it. Beginning in 1955, the Arizona Country Club (also in Phoenix) ),( alternated as event host with Phoenix Country Club; this arrangement lasted until Phoenix Country Club took The Arizona Country Club's turn in 1975 and became the event's permanent home again. ),
The tournament moved 30 years ago in 1987 to its current home, the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale, northeast of downtown Phoenix. The approximate average elevation of the course is 1,530 feet (470 m) above sea level.
The four-day attendance of the tournament is usually around a half million; the best-attended event in golf. In 2016, it set a PGA Tour and Phoenix Open single day attendance record with 201,003 fans in attendance on Saturday, February 6 and set a tournament week attendance record of 618,365 fans.
The most popular location for spectators is the par-3 16th hole, nicknamed "The Coliseum." ( One of the shortest holes on tour at 162 yards (148 m), it is enclosed by a temporary 20,000-seat grandstand. The hole could be described as "one big party," with many students from the nearby )Arizona State University in Tempe in attendance. Poor shots at the 16th hole receive boos, because the hole is very easy by the PGA's standards. Good shots, however, are cheered loudly. Famous moments at the 16th Include Tiger Woods' hole-in-one in 1997, which caused the gallery to erupt, throwing cups and other objects in celebration, and Justin Leonard giving the finger to the gallery after a poor shot. In 2011 Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle aced the hole, causing the stands to erupt in excitement.
After 2013, the PGA Tour banned the practice of caddies racing the 150 yards (140 m) from the tee box to the green, citing injury concerns.
The most popular golfer at the Waste Management Phoenix Open is unquestionably Phil Mickelson, an Arizona State alumnus. In addition to the golf, there is a concert/party held in the Scottsdale area called the Birds Nest, at which music artists like Huey Lewis and the News play.
The Thunderbirds are still highly active in the organization of the tournament. Portions of the proceeds are used by the Thunderbirds to fund Special Olympics activities in Phoenix.
Conflicts with the Super Bowl
In recent years, the Phoenix Open has been played on the weekend of the Super Bowl. In 1996, the tournament was played Wednesday through Saturday, as Super Bowl XXX was held at Sun Devil Stadium in nearby Tempe. In 2009, the tournament overlapped with Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Florida, when Kenny Perry and Charley Hoffman went to a playoff. That denied the spectators a chance to watch the beginning of the game on NBC, which featured the local Arizona Cardinals.
Because of the Super Bowl weekend status, the PGA Tour's television contracts with CBS and NBC include an alternating tournament. Usually a CBS tournament, the Phoenix Open airs on NBC when CBS has the Super Bowl, and NBC's WGC-Dell Match Play Championship airs on CBS in Winter Olympic years.
Records – scoring and victories
The tournament's lowest 72-hole score was set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001 with 256 (–28), which was matched by Mickelson in 2013. In the second round Calcavecchia scored a 60 (–11), which equalled the lowest score at the Phoenix Open (by Grant Waite in 1996) and subsequently matched by Mickelson in 2005 and 2013. Calcavecchia had 32 birdies in the tournament, which was also an all-time record.
There have been only two double eagles in the history of the Phoenix Open. Tom Pernice, Jr. made the first one on the 558-yard (510 m) par-5 15th hole in 1990. Andrew Magee scored the second on the 332-yard (304 m) par-4 17th hole in 2001. Magee's shot is believed to be the first-ever ace on a par-4 in PGA Tour history.
Four men have won three times at the Phoenix Open: Arnold Palmer won consecutively (1961, 1962, 1963), then Gene Littler (1955, 1959, 1969), Calcavecchia (1989, 1992, 2001), and Mickelson (1996, 2005, 2013).
Fourteen men have won this tournament more than once.
- 3 wins
- 2 wins
- Byron Nelson: 1939, 1945
- Ben Hogan: 1946, 1947 (consecutive)
- Jimmy Demaret: 1949, 1950 (consecutive)
- Lloyd Mangrum: 1952, 1953
- Johnny Miller: 1974, 1975 (consecutive)
- Miller Barber: 1971, 1978
- Bob Gilder: 1976, 1983
- Vijay Singh: 1995, 2003
- J. B. Holmes: 2006, 2008
- Hideki Matsuyama: 2016, 2017
- "Waste Management to sponsor Phoenix Open". PGA Tour. December 9, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- "Golf". Phoenix Country Club. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
- "Golf". Arizona Country Club. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
- "Waste Management Phoenix Open attendance records". AZ Central. February 7, 2016.
- "Mickelson grinds out another win". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 28, 1996. p. 3F.
- "Bee 'helps' Palmer win Phoenix Open". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. February 13, 1963. p. 50.
- "Palmer wins Phoenix Open". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. February 13, 1963. p. 1C.
- 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open Media Guide – Section 14: Top Finishers 1932–2014 – at wmphoenixopen.com
- Phoenix Open – Winners – at www.pgatour.com
- Phoenix Open – Winners – at golfobserver.com
- "Hogan wins Phoenix Open; trouble looms". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). United Press. January 27, 1947. p. 5.
- "Ben Hogan wins Phoenix tourney". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 27, 1947. p. 13.
- "Demaret winner of Phoenix golf". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. January 30, 1950. p. 11.
- "Miller shoots 64 for 14-shot edge". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 13, 1975. p. 13.
- "Miller maybe world's best". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. January 13, 1975. p. 8B.