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Previewing the Waste Management Phoenix Open

The Farmers Insurance Open was an unpredictable event, with the Torrey Pines course plagued by strong winds. Fortunately, golf fans should be able to enjoy a much calmer event at the next stop on the PGA Tour schedule: the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

This event will be held at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona, a course that will be celebrating its 30th anniversary of hosting this particular tournament. The course itself measures up at 7,266 yards in total with a par of 71. Plenty of fans will surely be turning out to watch some of the best players in the game attempt to walk home with a victory.

The course itself is renowned for being quite a tricky one, with the 16th hole being the big highlight. Uniquely, this hole is surrounded by spectator stands, known as the Coliseum, which will certainly be filled up with eager fans from the local area and beyond.

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A Look at the Phoenix Open Contenders

With a couple of big colleges not too far from the course, we can expect to see plenty of younger sports fans heading over to the Stadium Course for this exciting event. As always, spectators can expect the atmosphere, particularly at the aforementioned 16th par 3 hole, to be electric from start to finish. Some players will enjoy playing in that sort of ambience, while others might crack beneath it.

One man that many will be banking on to put in a big performance is Phil Mickelson. To put it simply, this is just one of those courses that Lefty loves to play on. The 45-year old star will be appearing for the 27th time in this particular event and already has a record three victories to his name.

He could go one step further and become the first ever player to notch up four victories in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but there’s a lot of competition this week. Mickelson hasn’t done too well lately, with a very disappointing performance at Torrey Pines, but he remains one of the sport’s icons.

Last year’s edition of this event was won by Brooks Koepka. Koepka is currently ranked as the 16th best player in the world and could hope to become one of the only players to ever win back-to-back editions of the Phoenix Open. He’ll have plenty of pride on the line and that extra motivation could be enough to push him to a good finish.

He already kicked off the new year in style with a T3 finish at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Koepka and Mickelson aren’t the only highly-ranked golfers set to be in attendance though; the pair will also have to contend with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and several other big names.

The winner of this event will be able to add 500 FedEx Cup points to his tally and Bubba Watson will be heading in as a big favorite. Watson is a winner and seems due for a victory at this event. He has a good history on this course with some excellent statistics including a scoring average of 68.24.

He finished as the runner-up in the Phoenix Open both last year and the year before, so will be hungry to taste that top spot in 2016. Everyone knows that Bubba loves to play under pressure and he’ll certainly appreciate the intensity provided by the Arizona crowd. He’s also in good form, with plenty of high finishes in recent times.

Hopes will also be high for fans of Rickie Fowler. The number 4 ranked player in the world, like many other successful players including Jason Day, had a terrible time at Torrey Pines and didn’t actually manage to make the cut. The 27-year old Californian will want to bounce back from that appearance and finish as high as he can.

Eyes will also be drawn towards the latest winner of a PGA Tour event: Brandt Snedeker. Snedeker almost came out of nowhere to snatch victory away from K.J. Choi at Torrey Pines. He’s always a consistent performer and has a good record at this course. Other names for fans to keep an eye on include Ryan Moore, Jason Dufner, Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama and Charles Howell III.

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Weather Preview for Phoenix Open

The weather forecast is looking good for this year’s Phoenix Open with skies expected to be clear and sunny. The chance of rain is almost inexistent so fans and players alike should be able to enjoy some excellent golf. The presence of the famous Coliseum and the expected playing conditions should all help to ensure that this event goes very smoothly.

At the same time, with a lot of stars vying for the podium, there’ll surely be some interest stories to look back upon when the tournament finally comes to a close. It’s worth pointing out that the GIR percentage tends to be quite low at TPC Scottsdale and scores also tend to be very low, with the winners averaging around -16 or -17. Can Mickelson make history with a fourth win? Will Bubba walk home with the victory? Or could Koepka do the unthinkable and defend his title? These questions will all be answered soon.

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Paul De Jong

Paul De Jong

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